Letter from Site Administrator

December 2022

I am pleased to report that strong progress continues to be made towards the safe and effective remediation and restoration of the 23 PPG sites subject to my oversight as the independent court appointed Site Administrator. As of this writing, soil remediation and restoration field work currently deemed to be required has been substantially completed at all of the sites. Groundwater remediation field work continues at a handful of the sites. The most significant groundwater remediation efforts are focused on the sites that comprise the Garfield Avenue Group of sites, including the original location of the PPG chromium processing facility. For a summary of those groundwater remediation efforts and the progress resulting from those efforts, see the December 2022 newsletter posted to this web site.

On November 1, 2022 the new Dennis Collins Park was reopened to the public by Bayonne Mayor Jimmy Davis. The sounds and sights of children playing in the Park while smiling parents watched served as the perfect backdrop for the speeches that were given at that reopening ceremony. It was also a poignant reminder to anyone and everyone that if government officials, regulators, and the private sector join forces and work together, then the quality of lives for young and old alike can be significantly enhanced. Ultimately, this is what should matter most.

In many ways I view the Dennis Collins Park success story as a microcosm of the larger remediation and restoration of the PPG sites. Decades ago fill material was deposited on the banks of the Kill Van Kull, nearby to the Bayonne Bridge, creating land that ultimately became the Park. It was not known by those who deposited the fill that chromate chemical production waste (“CCPW”), which was commingled with the fill, would years later be determined to be a hazardous substance. Although the source of the CCPW in Dennis Collins Park could not be determined, PPG accepted responsibility for its cleanup in a 2009 settlement agreement with the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (“NJDEP”) and other parties.

Between January 2020 and September 2021, working collaboratively with Bayonne officials, NJDEP, and under my supervision as court appointed Site Administrator, PPG removed from the Park 20,000 tons of chromium-impacted material, replaced the removed material with 39,000 tons of clean fill to create a two to three foot “cap” over the project limits, and repaired the former revetment on the Kill Van Kull with the emplacement of more than 9,000 tons of stone and other material.

Once PPG completed its work in the impacted portion of the Park, the City of Bayonne installed new facilities, including a roller hockey rink, an amphitheater, two playgrounds, basketball courts, an exercise and training area and a gazebo. The end result is a beautiful Park described by Mayor Davis as Bayonne’s “crown jewel.”

Often there are public reports of contaminated sites that need remediation. Not often enough do we see or hear reports of what happens when the contaminants are remediated and the sites are restored. The new Dennis Collins Park is a paradigm of what can happen when a remediation and restoration is done safely, effectively, and efficiently.

The remediation and restoration of Dennis Collins Park is not the only success story at PPG chromium sites. Using funds provided by PPG, the Jersey City Redevelopment Agency completed the excavation of chromium-impacted soil at two PPG chromium sites in Jersey City that resulted in the creation of Berry Lane Park, which is the largest municipal park in Jersey City.

I am confident that success stories similar to those at Dennis Collins Park and Berry Lane Park can be replicated at other PPG sites. This is a goal that I know is shared by everyone involved with the cleanup of the PPG sites - from Jersey City and Bayonne officials, to the NJDEP and its legal counsel, to PPG, myself - and all happening under the careful guidance of Judge Jeff Jablonski.

Site Administrator, PPG Chromium Cleanup Sites