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DEP seizes control of Fenimore landfill in Roxbury

June 26, 2013 1:30:38 PM PDT
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie has signed legislation to close the hazardous Fenimore Landfill in Roxbury.

"This is a tremendous day for thousands of Roxbury families and school children who have been suffering far too long and removed from their homes due to this dangerously toxic landfill and its failed operator," Senator Anthony Bucco (R-Morris) Bucco said.

The New Jersey Senate passed the bill to close the landfill in Morris County on June 21.

The state Department of Environmental Protection has assumed control of the Fenimore Landfill to cover the site, and the agency will recoup cleanup costs from landfill owner Strategic Environmental Partners.

The Fenimore Landfill has plagued surrounding neighborhoods with staggering odors caused by repeated and continued elevated levels of hydrogen sulfide gas since November.

The DEP investigated and found the odors to be from elevated emissions of hydrogen sulfide gas created by wet gypsum wallboard disposed at the landfill.

On June 10, Roxbury officials established an evacuation plan for dozens of families in the landfill danger zone, as hydrogen sulfide toxin levels spiked to sustained levels of 200 parts per billion and peaks of 390 parts per billion or nearly 50 times higher than acceptable levels.

Hydrogen sulfide, which smells like rotten eggs, is a colorless and flammable gas. "Roxbury residents have endured these odors for too long and deserve a resolution to this intolerable situation, which has severely compromised their quality of life and interfered with their normal day-to-day activities," DEP Commissioner Bob Martin said.

The DEP is developing a long-term plan to control odors. Under the interim project launched on Wednesday, the DEP response team is working with a contractor to seal an 18-acre area of the landfill with an environmentally-safe and proven effective concrete-like vapor barrier known as Posi-Shell. In addition, gas-flare systems will be installed.

During this initial odor-control process, neighboring residents are advised of the following:

  • Odor complaints or questions can be called into the 1-877-WARNDEP hotline. They are anticipated during remedial action and will be documented.

  • In the event of elevated off-site hydrogen sulfide levels, Roxbury Township will have emergency procedures for residents to follow.

  • Information and updates about the Fenimore Landfill are available on the township website at http://www.roxburynj.us.

    The emergency remediation work will be funded by the Sanitary Landfill Contingency Fund, established years ago to assist in the proper closure of landfills. The state, however, will seek cost recovery from SEP.

    For a copy of the order, visit: http://www.nj.gov/dep/docs/fenimore_eo.pdf

    For more information on hydrogen sulfide, visit: http://www.state.nj.us/health/ceohs/documents/hydrogensulfide_factsheet.pdf


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