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September 4, 2003

Contact: Fred Mumford
(609) 984-1795

DEP Designates Four Brownfield Development Areas to Stimulate Reuse of Contaminated Sites
Cleanup Star Program for Consultants Created to Speed Remedial Work

(03/120) Palmyra --- New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Bradley M. Campbell today designated neighborhoods in Hillside, Irvington, Newark and Palmyra as Brownfield Development Areas to encourage cleanup and reuse of contaminated sites in these communities. Commissioner Campbell also announced the start of a Cleanup Star program to reform the role of environmental consultants by allowing those pre-qualified by DEP to work with developers and responsible parties to expedite site cleanups and redevelopment.

"Brownfield redevelopment is vital for the economic health of our existing cities and suburban centers and to stem the tide of sprawl," said Commissioner Campbell. "Under Governor McGreevey's leadership, New Jersey has enhanced its brownfields program to bring relief to neighborhoods blighted by contaminated sites and improve the quality of life and economic opportunities for local residents."

DEP's Brownfield Development Area (BDA) program works with selected communities impacted by multiple brownfield sites to implement remediation and reuse plans in a coordinated fashion. Under this designation, all brownfield sites within a development area will be assigned to a single case manager, who will coordinate with partnering state agencies to direct targeted technical and financial assistance to stimulate reuse. The plans will be developed under the direction of a local steering committee with support from DEP advisors.

"The BDA designation is critical to the Borough of Palmyra in our efforts to redevelop the brownfields area on the south side of Route 73," said Palmyra Mayor John Gural. "Palmyra is a small community with a limited tax base and without the resources of the BDA program we would be severely challenged."

Commissioner Campbell made the announcement at a former drive-in along Route 73 that is used as a flea market on weekends. Brownfield Development Area designations were also made for a neighborhood along the Elizabeth River in Hillside, Union County, and the Coit Street Redevelopment Area in Irvington and a portion of Lister Avenue in Newark, both in Essex County.

"The Township of Hillside is very excited to have secured this BDA designation," said Mayor Karen McCoy Oliver. "This designation will continue to allow Hillside to grow and attract new economic development opportunities. Hillside is committed to seeing all Brownfield sites utilized for their maximum potential.""By securing this designation, we have cleared a major hurdle for the remediation and reuse of brownfields sites," said Irvington Mayor Wayne Smith. "We will aggressively pursue every funding source to clean up the affected properties. This achievement is a critical component in our plan to redevelop Irvington's industrial zone, which in the long term, has the potential to attract a strong labor force and become a major player in the regional economy."

"Selection of the Lister Avenue Brownfield Development Area in Newark's East Ward by DEP will focus public and private financial and technical resources into a partnership with the City of Newark, area property owners, businesses and the Ironbound community," said Newark Mayor Sharpe James. "The result will be a better quality of life, more open space and jobs on former industrial sites. New enterprises on now vacant land will offer sites for business expansion and new tax ratables. I commend the Lister Avenue Brownfield Development Area's Steering Committee for forging such a promising public/private partnership for brownfield redevelopment and pledge full cooperation of the City of Newark to assure its success."

The Cleanup Star program is designed to achieve three main goals: increase the quality of the environmental consulting profession; facilitate remediation of low-risk sites; and allow DEP case managers to devote more resources to high priority cases. DEP will audit consultants' work to ensure regulatory compliance and protection of public health and the environment.

" Under the innovative Cleanup Star program, DEP will pre-qualify environmental consultants meeting all environmental standards for cleanups and rigorous training and professional requirements," said Commissioner Campbell. "These 'Cleanup Stars' will be permitted to expedite the investigation and cleanup of low-risk sites, subject to appropriate safeguards."

The Cleanup Star program will contribute to the improvement of the environmental consulting profession by establishing standards of excellence for consultants performing remedial work. Also, DEP case managers will have more time to focus on sites with greater environmental or public health concerns by relying on consultants in the Cleanup Star program to use their expertise at the least contaminated sites.

In terms of spurring redevelopment activity, the Cleanup Star program will allow uncontaminated or slightly contaminated property to move quickly through the DEP remedial process, allowing the properties to be sold or reused for important new purposes.

The investigation and remediation of Cleanup Star sites also must be completed in full compliance with the Technical Requirements for Site Remediation, which are DEP's regulations governing all phases of the site remediation process.

NJDEP anticipates that homeowner underground heating oil storage tank cases, brownfield sites on which there is no trigger for investigation of ground water contamination, discreet spills where a discharger is pursuing final cleanup approval and certain other sites are the types that may be eligible to proceed through the Cleanup Star Program.

DEP will post a Request for Participation and a Cleanup Star Application on DEP's Site Remediation Program web page. Environmental professionals are encouraged to review the Cleanup Star application and to apply if they meet the specified criteria.



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