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Princeton officials award contract to environmental firm

Locals spend time out on the water before the sun set down on the Keyport Waterfront on July 5.

The Princeton Council has awarded a contract for $163,375 to Whitman Environmental Consulting for a preliminary environmental assessment of the Princeton Sewer Operating Commission site on River Road.

The consultant has been hired to determine the nature and extent of potential soil and water contamination. It is suspected that there may have been illegal dumping at the site, according to Planet Princeton.

The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection notified Princeton officials last month that the town had been illegally operating a dump at the River Road site, following an earlier inspection in February, according to Planet Princeton.

In its proposal for the project, Whitman Environmental Consulting wrote that the former Princeton Township had allowed contractors working on projects in town to store their equipment at the River Road site.

“It is suspected that a town employee, alone or in conjunction with contractors, was allowing the dumping of soils, millings, asphalt, concrete and brick on the property over the past few years,” the consultant wrote.

“This has resulted in an extremely large pile of undocumented and tested soil to be stockpiled around the property. This current stockpile may be impacting wetlands and possibly extending into Montgomery Township,” the consultant wrote.

The consultant will identify wetlands, streams and other surface water bodies, specialized habitats and floodplains. It will determine if “illegal dumping… and other soil disturbance” activities have occurred in the area of the wetlands.

Soil samples will be taken for analysis of potential contaminants. Fifteen of the soil samples will be analyzed to rule out impacts to the groundwater, the consultant wrote in the project proposal.

Once the sampling activities have been completed, Whitman Environmental Consulting will conduct a post-sampling site survey to plot the locations of samples for the second phase of the project – waste classification and removal, which may be done under a separate proposal.

Also, Whitman Environmental Consulting will secure the contents of a roll-off container that contains bagged asbestos pipe wrap. The bags of pipe wrap, which were deposited on site by a contractor who had been making sewer repairs, had been sitting there for several years.

The bags have been punctured and there are holes in the roll-off containers. The holes allowed water that had collected in the container to run out, “potentially impacting the surrounding soil,” according to the consultant.

The consultant will cover the roll-off container with two layers of 6-mil poly sheeting and secure the layers to the container. Holes will be sealed, and asbestos warning signs will be attached to all four sides of the roll-off container.

The preliminary environmental assessment work will be completed within six weeks.

 

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