2016 / Q3 News Briefs

Nearly 30 residents and interested parties attend a June 14 meeting at the Bethune Center.
Progress being made but much work remains, Riccio says in report spacer

JERSEY CITY, N.J., Aug. 11, 2016 – Good progress is being made on all fronts, but much work remains in completing PPG’s chromium cleanups in Hudson County, said Site Administrator Ron Riccio in his first semiannual progress report to the Superior Court of New Jersey.

“In some cases, remediation and restoration is several years away from completion,” said Riccio, whose tenure as the independent, court-appointed site administrator began Jan. 4. He succeeded Mike McCabe, who had served in the role since 2009, when the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (“NJDEP”), the City of Jersey City and PPG agreed on a process for addressing the company’s chromium cleanups.

A revised master schedule in Riccio’s July 29 report “contemplates” that the remediation of the soils at most of the cleanup sites on or near Garfield Avenue will be completed by October of 2017.

PPG, meanwhile, has installed an “extensive network” of monitoring wells to investigate the chromium impacts to the groundwater at those sites. The parties are presently discussing new milestones for the investigation and remediation of groundwater. Groundwater at the PPG sites is not a source of drinking water.

Riccio said public safety remains a top priority under his leadership. “All of the objective public health and safety measurements confirm that activities taken to protect the public during remediation have been and continue to be effective.”

He pointed to data that indicate that air quality at the sites has remained well below strict safety limits developed by NJDEP.

Riccio also cited seven rounds of blood sampling from volunteers in the Garfield Avenue community that show there have been “no discernable chromium exposure levels attributable to the remediation.”

Riccio said his transition to site administrator was “seamless.” Among the steps he took to “hit the ground running,” Riccio mentioned two public meetings he conducted at the Bethune Center, including a June 14 gathering that included nearly 30 residents and interested parties as well as representatives from NJDEP, PPG, the City of Jersey City and the Jersey City Redevelopment Agency. A subsequent meeting with residents led by city officials at city hall addressed specific questions about the cleanup at Berry Lane Park before it officially opened June 25.