Site investigations delayed for Pennington landfill property

Pennington Borough’s site investigation of the closed landfill property along West Delaware Avenue won’t be complete until a supplemental investigation takes place to evaluate additional contaminant concerns for the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (DEP).

The delay of the investigation into 2021 is due to DEP adding an additional requirement in the summer of 2020 to all remedial landfill site investigations, which requires additional testing for a broad class of chemicals known as per and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS).

The substances have been used in stain repellants, electronics, and coatings for textiles. They can be toxic and reach into the ground, possibly contaminating groundwater. PFAS at low levels cause health problems as the substance continues in the body for years, according to the DEP.

“The site investigation was nearing completion when the borough was advised of the new sampling requirement for landfills,” Borough Administrator Eileen Heinzel said.

Pennington Borough Council members last fall authorized an application seeking close to $312,000 in additional funding from the state’s Hazardous Discharge Site Remediation Fund (HDSRF) for the supplemental investigation of the landfill and surrounding borough property on the site that is off of West Delaware Avenue and Broemel Place.

Available to municipalities, the HDSRF funds preliminary assessments, site investigations and remedial investigations to determine the existence or extent of hazardous substance discharge conditions on property, according to the borough.

“The borough anticipates receiving grant funding for this additional sampling from the HDSRF. Once submitted to NJDEP, the application typically requires 6 to 9 months to evaluate,” Heinzel said. “Project initiation and investigation is estimated to require between 8 and 9 months.”

Once the site investigations are complete, and based on the outcome of the investigations, a redevelopment plan would be the next step for the borough.

“The target date for redevelopment planning is October 2021,” Heinzel added.

In 2018, Pennington Borough contracted with Excel Environmental Resources, Inc. of North Brunswick, for services related to site investigation and remedial investigation of the closed solid waste landfill. If approved for state funding, Excel would continue conducting the investigations.

DEP had previously approved $301,000 in funding from HDSRF grant program for the cost of the preliminary assessment, and the initial site investigation and remedial investigation.