Applicant seeks to re-establish gas station on Route 9

By Jennifer Ortiz
Staff Writer

HOWELL – Representatives of Gill Petroleum are seeking approval to rebuild a BP gas station with a 3,000-square-foot convenience store at Route 9 north and Wyckoff Mills Road, Howell.

Testimony was presented to the Planning Board in January and will continue on April 7.

Attorney Salvatore Alfieri, representing the applicant, said the property was a gas station years ago and has been abandoned for some time. Alfieri said a change to a municipal ordinance has made the proposed use a permitted use at the site.

Kenneth Toth, a licensed site remediation professional (LSRP), has been retained by British Petroleum (BP). Toth said he is familiar with a leak that occurred at the site years ago and caused contamination. He said BP is the responsible party for remediation efforts at the property.

He said about 15 tons of soil and an underground storage tank have been removed from the site, which continues to be monitored. When the tank was removed in 2008, contamination from the soil moved into the ground water.

“At this point the site soils are fully compliant with the state Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) residential and nonresidential direct contact soil standards. There is residual soil impact below the water table, but that soil is below all applicable guidelines, specifically the DEP,” Toth said.

Contamination levels are being monitored semi-annually and the results must come up clean in two consecutive tests to be considered clean, he testified.

The last two tests indicate that two wells on site are still contaminated and have tested above standards. Toth said those two wells are directly adjacent to the former location of the gas pump islands to the tank field. Vapor testing will not be required because there will not be a structure within 30 feet of the two wells. Toth said the layout of the current design is not impacted by the remedial action taking place on site.

Other wells on site have met applicable criteria, according to the testimony.

Jennifer Beahm, the board’s planner, asked Toth if it was his opinion that the contamination is isolated to the area of the two wells, not migrating off-site and therefore not potentially entering the Manasquan Reservoir. Toth said that is his opinion, based on current conditions.

Toth said the foundation of the convenience store will be above ground water and that construction activities will be above ground water level, with the exception of the tanks.

Mayor Bill Gotto said, “What I am looking for as a board member is, again, the site is contaminated. I need to know what you are doing about it now and what you will continue to do about it if this application goes forward.”

Toth said ground water is being monitored in accordance with DEP requirements. He said the site would continue to be monitored and if indications of a problem arisen then he, as the designated LSRP, will be required to investigate the situation to determine exactly what is occurring and how that specific situation should be addressed.