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September 21, 2005

Contact: Alescia Teel/ Fred Mumford
(609) 984-1795

State Requires Schools Construction Corporation to Control Soil Contamination

(05/113) TRENTON -- The State Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) today directed the New Jersey Schools Construction Corporation (SCC) to take aggressive actions to eliminate any potential exposure to contaminated soil at the Martin Luther King/Jefferson School site in the city of Trenton. Under the Directive, SCC must implement both interim and long-term measures related to dust suppression at the site and conduct testing needed to develop a cleanup plan for the construction site of a new middle school.

“Nothing can be more important than protecting the health of our school children,” said Acting Gov. Richard J. Codey. “It is vital that the New Jersey Schools Construction Corporation take appropriate measures to eliminate dust concerns and ensure permanent safeguards for the entire school site and surrounding community.”

DEP directed SCC to perform interim dust suppression measures within seven days at the site, augmenting these actions aggressively as needed to eliminate fugitive dust and prevent exposure to contaminated soil and fill material found at the site. DEP also directed SCC to submit in 14 days a proposal for permanent dust suppression measures that must be implemented and completed within 21 days after DEP approval.

“More aggressive action is warranted by the SCC to ensure no contaminated soil is leaving the site,” said Commissioner Campbell. “It is time for action to ensure the school community is protected and this project moves forward.”

Prompted by concerns about potential exposure of Thomas Jefferson Elementary School students to soil contamination, the Trenton Board of Education recently moved the children, who were scheduled to attend the Thomas Jefferson Elementary School, to an alternate location. The Trenton Board of Education's concerns include exposure through dust migration from ongoing and past construction activities at the site.

Under the directive, SCC also must initiate within 21 days a study of the potential migration of dust from the site, including but not limited to the Thomas Jefferson Elementary School and surrounding community. SCC has 60 days to submit a report that includes remedial alternatives and proposals to DEP for review.

DEP also directed SCC to submit a scope of work and implementation schedule for additional sampling that would enable the Department to determine appropriate permanent remedies to address site contamination issues.

The Martin Luther King/Jefferson School site is located at Martin Luther King Boulevard and Brunswick Avenue. Within the property are two existing schools: Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Middle School located in the northwest portion of the property; and, Thomas Jefferson Elementary School located to the southeast portion of the property. The area located between the two schools is subject to construction activities by SCC to construct the new middle school.

Construction History at the MLK/Jefferson Site
From May 2004 through February 2005, SCC, through its contractor, excavated and removed approximately 35,000 cubic yards of soils from the site. From May 2004 through February 2005, materials containing recycled concrete aggregate and other materials were deposited on the site by SCC.

From March 2005 though July 2005, SCC collected samples of the fill deposited on the site and analyzed them for various hazardous substances. Sampling results revealed hazardous substances in excess of DEP's Residential Direct Contact Soil Cleanup Criteria, including polynuclear aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), metals, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and pesticides.

The Trenton Board of Education is the current owner of the site.



NJDEP - Site Remediation and Waste Management Program



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Last Updated: September 21, 2005