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State of New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection
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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 25, 2007

Contact: Elaine Makatura (609) 292-2994
Lawrence Hajna (609) 984-1795

SETTLEMENT TO TRANSFORM WETLANDS AND FORESTS AROUND LINDEN LANDFILL INTO FOCAL POINT FOR URBAN GREENWAY

(07/21) LINDEN - Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Lisa P. Jackson today announced a major settlement that will result in the final closure of the Linden Landfill and sets the stage for preservation of surrounding woods and wetlands along the heavily urbanized Rahway River for public enjoyment.

"Through this settlement, Linden is making a significant investment in a healthier environment for its residents while creating a destination that will enhance the quality of life in one of New Jersey's most densely populated areas," said Commissioner Jackson, who made the announcement in conjunction with Earth Week. "This settlement is in keeping with the spirit of Earth Week by demonstrating the state's commitment to finding creative ways to correct past environmental problems."

The Administrative Consent Order between Linden and DEP requires the city to finish properly closing the landfill and to enhance 50 acres of surrounding forest areas and wetlands that will be the core of a Linden City Greenway.

The city also agreed to pay $1 million to settle past violations of DEP landfill closure requirements. The settlement sets aside an additional $2 million to create opportunities for the public to enjoy fishing, hiking trails, boating, and wildlife viewing.

The greenway and interpretive programs established through the settlement will be important components of a future greenway network that will enhance public appreciation and enjoyment of the Rahway watershed.

"Thanks to the commitment of environmental groups and local government, the Rahway River is recovering from its industrial past," Commissioner Jackson added. "While the river remains vital to commerce, this settlement recognizes its importance in supporting wildlife, providing drinking water, and satisfying the recreational needs of area residents."

Specifically, the Administrative Consent Order requires:

  • Payment by the city of a $1 million penalty for DEP violations, including improper closure of the landfill and disturbance of wetlands caused by installation of a clay containment wall;
  • Linden's commitment of an additional $1 million for greenway access projects and establishment of education and interpretive programs in conjunction with a non-profit environmental group;
  • DEP commitment of $1 million in matching money for greenway projects that comes from a separate settlement with Merck & Co. for natural resource damages associated with contamination of ground water in the area. Ten additional acres of wetlands preserved as part of this settlement will be made part of the greenway.

The Linden Landfill, encompassing 55 acres on Lower Road, began accepting municipal waste more than 50 years ago, prior to state oversight of landfills as authorized by the Solid Waste Management Act. It was one of the last of the old municipal landfills to close when it ceased operations on Jan. 1, 2000.

Over the years, the city made significant progress toward closing the landfill by installing the containment wall and systems to control leachate and storm water.

The DEP-approved closure plan allowed the city to use material dredged from the Arthur Kill for grading in preparation for final capping. The city began placing the material on the landfill in December 2002.

But the city and its contractor did not follow conditions for acceptance of the material and other requirements of the closure plan. DEP issued a series of violation notices and civil penalty assessments.]

The settlement requires the city to verify that contaminated soil and processed dredged material that migrated off the landfill and into surrounding wetlands have been cleaned up. The city must complete all closure activities by June 1, and provide long-term post-closure monitoring.

 

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Last Updated: April 27, 2007