CHRISTIE ADMINISTRATION EFFORTS LEAD TO REMOVAL OF BOUND BROOK DIRT PILES
(13/P4) TRENTON –Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Bob Martin today announced that approximately 50,000 cubic yards of fill dirt that was placed illegally within the flood zone of the Raritan River in Bound Brook, Somerset County, has been fully removed as the result of work spearheaded by the DEP’s Compliance and Enforcement Program and the Attorney General’s Office.
The removal done by a contractor for Brook Industrial Park followed a number of court actions led by the DEP and Attorney General’s Office. A Superior Court ruling in 2011 found Brook Industrial, its owner James G. Schleck, and its property manager, Richard Dobrzynski, in violation of the state's Flood Hazard Area Control Act for allowing the fill to be deposited at the site by Arthur Fletcher, Jr. and his company, G&A Holdings, LLC.
Removal began in early 2012 and was completed last month. Small amounts of rock and concrete also were hauled away as part of the removal project.
"This is an important victory for the residents of Bound Brook,” Commissioner Martin said. “Our message remains simple and clear: huge piles of illegally placed dirt such as those in Bound Brook are not going to be tolerated. The DEP is committed to taking strong and decisive action to make sure piles such as these are removed for the protection of the health and safety of our communities.”
"This was an important environmental, legal and quality-of-life matter, and we're glad to have had a role in resolving it on behalf of the residents of Bound Brook,” said Attorney General Jeffrey S. Chiesa. “We remain committed to working with DEP – and to taking legal action wherever necessary – in order to protect New Jersey communities from environmental dangers."
The dirt threatened to exacerbate flooding by obstructing and restricting the flow of the river during flooding events. Runoff from the exposed dirt also threatened to obstruct the Raritan by carrying silt into the river.
“On behalf of the residents of Bound Brook, we are pleased that this dirt pile has been removed from our community,” said Mayor Carey Pilato. “This work, made possible by the diligence of Commissioner Martin and the Attorney General’s Office, removes a significant flood hazard from the borough.”
The fill dirt at the Brook Industrial Park, which contained slightly elevated levels of a hydrocarbon known as benzo(a)pyrene, was moved to the former Nuodex Corp. site in Fords, Woodbridge Township, where it was used as grading material in the redevelopment of the site, which is part of the Keasbey Redevelopment Area project. The Nuodex site is authorized to accept minimally contaminated fill, such as the Brook Industrial Park material, under strict DEP oversight.
The DEP has been working with Woodbridge to clean up contamination at former industrial properties and develop the area as a gas-fired power plant and eco-park that will allow public access to the Raritan River and associated wetlands. The township is also developing a resource-recovery park for recycling, compost processing and other resource reuse.
In early 2012, attorneys for the Attorney General’s Office negotiated an agreement on behalf of DEP with the Brook Industrial Park and Schleck for removal of the fill.
Arthur Fletcher was initially charged in a 2009 DEP lawsuit. During the course of the case, principles in the Bound Brook industrial park presented various options for removal of the dirt but none ever came to fruition.