Berry Lane Park Environmental Investigation and Remediation Summary
BERRY LANE PARK ENVIRONMENTAL INVESTIGATION AND REMEDIATION SUMMARY
(Dated April 2020)
The Jersey City Redevelopment Agency (“JCRA”) is providing the following summary of the environmental investigation and remediation activities undertaken at the Berry Lane Park (the “Park”). This summary is being provided solely for the benefit of increased public understanding of the investigation and remediation activities conducted prior to and during the construction of the Park. Reference is made herein to numerous reports issued by the environmental professionals who conducted this environmental work (the “Environmental Record”), most of which have been submitted to the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (“NJDEP”). Copies of all reports identified in this summary are available on the JCRA’s website at: https://thejcra.org/project/berry-lane-park. Reports submitted to the NJDEP are publicly available through the NJDEP’s public records request process. This summary is not intended to modify or replace any information contained in Environmental Record, and, to the extent any information contained herein is inconsistent with the Environmental Record, the information contained in the Environmental Record should be considered accurate. The JCRA will update this summary as necessary as additional materially relevant information is added to the Environmental Record. This summary is not intended to discuss or summarize any environmental investigations or remediation being conducted on property not within the boundaries of the Park.
As further detailed below, historic environmental investigations at the properties making up the Park revealed contaminants in soil and ground water above applicable NJDEP remediation standards, including, but not limited to chromium waste products (“chromium”), discharges from previous site operations, and historic fill. As part of its effort to redevelop these properties, the JCRA oversaw an extensive site remediation effort, which effort was subject to active review, oversight and approval by the NJDEP. Site remediation efforts included excavation of chromium and non-chromium impacted soils above NJDEP’s most stringent regulatory requirements, installation of engineering controls (i.e. a “cap”) to protect the public from non-chromium contamination in soil and associated administrative tools (e.g. a deed notice). The ultimate result of the JCRA’s remediation efforts is the complete remediation of soil and ground water contaminants identified at the Park, to the satisfaction and approval of the NJDEP and the JCRA’s Licensed Site Remediation Professional (“LSRP”), to a level which the NJDEP has determined is protective of public health and the environment.
Chromium Remediation – Soil
Three different NJDEP-designated “Chromium Sites” (Site 121, Site 207 and the Former Morris Canal) fall within the limits of Berry Lane Park. The JCRA and their consultant Dresdner Robin, undertook the investigation of this chromium contamination pursuant to a remedial investigation workplan approved by the NJDEP. The findings of these investigations and the approach to remediate this contamination were documented in a Remedial Investigation Report/Remedial Action Workplan, which was reviewed and approved by the NJDEP and its technical consultant. A copy of the Remedial Investigation Report/Remedial Action Workplan, dated January 2012, can be found on the JCRA website (see https://thejcra.org/project/berry-lane-park/).
Between July 2012 and May 2013, the JCRA implemented the NJDEP-approved soil remedial actions, including the excavation, removal and offsite disposal of chromium related soil contaminants above NJDEP Soil Cleanup Criteria. The soil remediation was documented in a Remedial Action Report which was reviewed and approved by the NJDEP and its technical consultant, at which point, the JCRA’s LSRP issued an unrestricted use Response Action Outcome (RAO) for chromium contaminated soils to formally document the completion of the chromium related soil remediation. Copies of the Remedial Action Report – Soil, dated June 2016, and RAO, dated June 22, 2016 and amended on May 18, 2018, can be found on the JCRA website (see https://thejcra.org/project/berry-lane-park/).
It should be noted that PPG is currently investigating and remediating chromium at a property adjacent to the Park, which property is commonly known as 457 Communipaw Avenue. The impacted property is located near the far northern entrance to the Park off Communipaw Avenue and over nine hundred (900) feet away from the Pavilion and over seven hundred (700) feet away from the Skate Park (see Berry Lane Park Property Map). The material at issue is located beneath a privately-owned building on the 457 Communipaw Avenue property that straddles the Park boundary. That building is immediately adjacent to a paved bike / pedestrian path. Currently, the building and paved path prohibit any exposure to subsurface soils in this area. During previous environmental investigations, conducted by PPG at the direction and oversight of the NJDEP in 2011-2012, it was determined that the chromium contamination that had been present on the Park property did not extend onto the narrow strip of property where the bike/pedestrian path extends from the Park to Communipaw Avenue. To ensure that the chromium contamination located under the building on the 457 Communipaw Avenue property does not extend into the Park beneath the bike/pedestrian path, JCRA is coordinating access with PPG to investigate this area and will share its results with the Agency. The Berry Lane Property Map also shows the area of prior chromium excavation on the Park property.
Chromium Remedial – Groundwater
The JCRA also conducted groundwater investigations at the Chromium Sites on the Park property between 2014 and 2018. During these investigations chromium related contaminants were not identified with concentrations exceeding the applicable NJDEP groundwater standards. The findings of the investigations were documented in a Remedial Investigation Report which was reviewed and approved by the NJDEP and its technical consultant. Subsequently, the JCRA’s LSRP issued an unrestricted use RAO formally documenting the completion of the chromium related groundwater remediation. Copies of the Remedial Investigation Report, dated July 2018, and RAO, dated December 5, 2018 can be found on the JCRA website (see https://thejcra.org/project/berry-lane-park/).
Non-Chromium Remediation – Soil
Non-chromium contamination is present in the soils at the Park consisting of “Historic Fill”, certain petroleum-related compounds, and poly-chlorinated biphenyls (“PCBs”). Historic Fill is non-indigenous fill material, that is typically contaminated with metals and polynuclear aromatic hydrocarbons, which was deposited in the Park years ago by those who wanted to raise the topographic elevation of the site. Historic Fill is ubiquitous in urban and/or industrialized areas in North-Eastern New Jersey and particularly in Hudson County. When the remediation process for the Park began several years ago, these contaminants were identified during the remedial investigations conducted at the Park. A copy of the Site Investigation Report, Remedial Investigation Report, Remedial Action Workplan, and Remedial Action Report (SI/RIR/RAW/RAR), dated February 2019, which provides more specific information regarding those investigations and the contamination identified can be found on the JCRA website, https://thejcra.org/project/berry-lane-park/. The contaminants found in the soil of the Park, including the Historic Fill, were present prior to and are in no way connected with the construction operations at the Park.
The physical remediation implemented to address the non-chromium soil contamination at the Park was conducted pursuant to NJDEP approved remedial action workplans and called for: (a) excavation and offsite disposal of soil impacted above NJDEP remediation standards associated with previous site operations and (b) the installation of an Engineering Control (i.e. a “cap”) to provide a physical barrier between Park occupants and underlying non-chromium soil contamination that NJDEP regulations allow to remain in place. The design of the Engineering Control in the area of the future Pavilion involved laying a minimum of 24 inches of certified clean fill underlain with a geotextile demarcation fabric. The Engineering Control complied with the “presumptive remedies,” which are NJDEP mandated remedial actions applicable to residential, childcare and school facilities. These “presumptive remedies” were developed by the NJDEP utilizing health risk approach methodologies and are deemed by them to be protective of public health and the environment, even for these most-sensitive category of land uses.
In order to assure that the physical remediation continues to remain protective, certain administrative, Institutional Controls are also necessary. For example, a Deed Notice has been recorded against the property with the Hudson County Register, which describes the location of non-chromium soil contamination above an applicable regulatory standard at the Park and a physical description of the Engineering Control. Exhibit B of the Deed Notice expressly identifies the nature and location of the non-chromium soil contamination present at the Park. A copy of the Deed Notice, dated January 1, 2019, can be found on the JCRA website, https://thejcra.org/project/berry-lane-park. It is important to note that this Deed Notice is not related to chromium contamination because the chromium above applicable NJDEP standards has been excavated and disposed of off the Park property. In addition, a Remedial Action Permit (“RAP”) will be obtained from the NJDEP. This Remedial Action Permit requires the permittee, which in this instance is the JCRA, to inspect the Engineering Control on a semi-annual basis to identify areas which warrant repairs and make certified reports to the NJDEP regarding those inspections every other year. The purpose of the RAP is to ensure that the Engineering Control remains protective of public health and the environment into perpetuity. Once approved and issued by NJDEP, a copy of the RAP will be added to the JCRA website. A copy of the SI/RIR/RAW/RAR that details remedial actions for non-chromium contamination in soils at the Park can be found on the JCRA website, https://thejcra.org/project/berry-lane-park.
It should be noted that construction activities in the Park are ongoing, including the construction of a permanent building in the Pavilion area and a Skate Park. As part of this construction, the Engineering Control (or cap) (within the building footprint) will be altered from 24 inches of clean fill material to a minimum of 4 inches of concrete with 4 inches of subbase clean fill. This change in cap design, however, is equally protective of human health and the environment and complies with the NJDEP’s presumptive remedies. Any such alterations will be documented in an amendment to the Deed Notice and Remedial Action Permit.
Non-Chromium Remediation – Groundwater
In addition to soil investigations, environmental professionals also undertook groundwater investigations within the Park, where they also identified concentrations of contaminants in the groundwater associated with Historic Fill and/or gasoline or heating oil previously stored within former underground storage tanks. The NJDEP-approved remedy for groundwater contaminated with Historic Fill and/or petroleum products, is the implementation of an Administrative Control, specifically identifying the areas as a Ground Water Classification Exception Area (CEA). The CEA acts to protect the public by first identifying the contaminants within the ground water and then safeguarding the public from gaining access to the groundwater, by prohibiting the installation of wells and potable use of that water. The CEA application for Historic Fill is pending review and approval by the NJDEP’s Bureau of Remedial Action Permitting. Once approved and issued by the NJDEP, a copy of the CEA will be added to the JCRA website, https://thejcra.org/project/berry-lane-park. Two separate CEAs associated with petroleum contamination are also anticipated.
Park Construction Activities Conducted Within Non-Chromium Soil Restricted Areas
Currently, JCRA contractors are constructing a Skate Park and Pavilion, which are within the restricted, non-chromium soil contamination areas in the Park as identified in the Deed Notice described above. The construction activities will, at times, be conducted below the Engineering Controls related to that non-chromium soil contamination. The disturbance of Engineering Controls during construction is not an uncommon occurrence and the related Deed Notice includes operations and maintenance provisions related to disturbances of this kind, which include instructions on the excavation, staging and disposal of contaminated soil and dust control (see Deed Notice, Exhibit C-2). Moreover, the environmental portions of the JCRA’s construction bid specification for the Skate Park and Pavilion include similar provisions in even greater detail. A copy of the environmental portion of the construction bid specifications can be found on the JCRA website, https://thejcra.org/project/berry-lane-park. One additional requirement of the JCRA’s environmental bid specification was the performance of air monitoring during construction activities. This air monitoring program establishes a Dust Alert Level of 100 ug/M3, which, if met, requires the contractor to stop work and implement dust control measures before an exceedance of the 150 ug/M3 Dust Action Level occurs. Results from the air monitoring program confirmed that there were no Dust Action Level exceedances, although there were three triggers of the Dust Alert Level, two of which were attributed to workers cutting materials too close to the monitoring station and the other was due to precipitation conditions that affected the sensor in the instrument resulting in artificially elevated readings. Copies of the Air Monitoring Plan and Air Monitoring Results Report for October 2019, November 2019 and December 4, 2019 can be found on the JCRA website, https://thejcra.org/project/berry-lane-park. During the construction activities, the JCRA’s environmental consultant for the Park, Dresdner Robin, was on site as required periodically to monitor that the provisions of the Deed Notice and bid specifications were followed whenever the Engineering Controls were disturbed and contact was made with non-chromium soil contamination.