Recognizing and Detecting Hazardous Waste Sites

Le Zephyr

New Member
Oct 6, 2014
3
0
34
Jackson, NJ
To start off, I would like to state that I have no intentions of stirring the pot here so to speak, as I'm sure this a very controversial and emotional subject for many.

A little about me; I was born and raised in New Egpyt. From about age 6 on, its safe to say I've spent most of my life in the pine barrens. Hiking the trails, exploring the ancient cedar swamps, kayaking through the marshes, any excuse to be out there was a good one. I was a Boy Scout for about 6 years as well, and I feel that it really introduced me to an area that so many take for granted. Currently I've been researching and trying to grasp the depths of a certain subject; Past dumping of hazardous wastes in the pine barrens.


Anyone who spends time out here will be able to tell you that dumping garbage and debris is pretty commonplace. Annual cleanups and stricter penalties seem to do little to thwart dumpers, but talk to any old timer and they'll tell you what the "dumping" used to be like.

53' trailers with tanks full of a combination of whatever any number of industrial/chemical facilities couldn't easily dispose of legally. They would pull off into any number of dirt roads, head to whatever spot they felt most comfortable at, and open the spigot. Or drop the barrels. Or dump out the lab packs. You get the idea.

Big business and big crime syndicates kept this operation going on for decades, and while I'm sure it still exists in some areas, it's a drop in the proverbial bucket compared to what previous generations endured.

Unfortunately only a small fraction of these "sites" have been exposed and remediation attempts made. The serene charm and wilderness of the pine barrens that brings us all there has also kept out public infrastructure. Most recognized superfund sites are residential or farm land, that sees quite a bit more "traffic" than most of the pine barrens ever will. This, and lack of funding and manpower, or incentive, to expand testing and detection into uninhibited areas, keeps what could be some of the most toxic sites in the state unknown. When the leachate from all of these liquid and solid wastes drains into the soil, it's only a matter of time until it becomes dispersed into the surrounding tributaries/branches.

I am trying to gather as much information as humanly possible on this subject. My hopes are to find a somewhat "accessible" method to detect recognize and plot these areas. I am looking for any and all input on this, recommendations, suspected areas, anything. I believe there is a lot we can do here, as a whole, and individually. I for one, do not want to see 2400' wells drilled for my children's children, just to buy them some more time before the plumes reach further down. I don't want to see more species eradicated from the area because they're food sources can't survive, or their reproductive systems mutate. I can go on, but it's a moot point. I need your help.


-Adam
 

Teegate

Administrator
Site Administrator
Sep 17, 2002
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I can honestly say that in all my travels there was only one I knew about first hand and they are working on that one.
 

Le Zephyr

New Member
Oct 6, 2014
3
0
34
Jackson, NJ
A search of superfund sites will show you the known areas.

In little old New Egypt alone, there's at least 4 within a few miles of each other, not counting bomarc. The pijak farm, spence farm, and goose farm are 3 that come to mind; all uncovered by developers looking to purchase old farm land to build on. There were some seriously terrible things buried out there. Unfortunately the powers that be are seemingly uninterested in areas with little to no inhabitance.
 

Boyd

Administrator
Site Administrator
Jul 31, 2004
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Ben's Branch, Stephen Creek
NJDEP has a few downloads of hazardous waste sites here: http://www.state.nj.us/dep/gis/lists.html

Just had a very quick look. I used the pinelands boundary (pink outline) to select the Groundwater Contamination Areas (CKE) and Known Contaminated Sites List (KCSL) and ended up with about 500 points in the pines.

waste.jpg


I just randomly selected a bunch of points in the middle of the pines and came up with these.

data.jpg


Not something that I am willing to pursue any further, but you can download the files yourself and see if there are any locations you weren't aware of. You would need some software that can open shapefiles to view the data. The free trial version of Globalmapper should do that, but won't allow you to save anything. http://www.globalmapperforum.com/download/
 
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Badfish740

Explorer
Feb 19, 2005
589
44
Copperhead Road
Interesting. I had never heard of people trucking the waste in to dump. I'd just heard of people dumping stuff on land they owned.

I had the occasion to talk with a retired East Brunswick cop once when I visited a Superfund site (there are many in that area) out there for work. When he had started in the late 1960s it was commonplace for tankers to drive late at night out of the "Chemical Coast" area (Elizabeth, Linden, Rahway, The Amboys, etc... They'd drive along a county road (East Brunswick was still very rural at that time) with the tank valve open, dumping whatever was in the tank on the road to run off onto the roadside. If caught, the excuse was that they didn't know/it was a mistake/deliberate sabotage. They were typically 3rd party waste haulers with connections to organized crime that got contracts to "properly dispose" of hazardous wastes which they got a pretty penny to do, when in reality they themselves paid no disposal fees and pocketed all of the money.

It's the same principle as contractors dumping roofing materials, siding, flooring, and other construction/demolition waste in the pines. Dumpsters and tipping fees are expensive. Imagine how much fatter their margins are on a job when they aren't paying disposal fees for that stuff? That's why the fines need to be exponentially increased and the surveillance/patrols stepped up. One instance of illegal dumping should trigger a fine large enough to require liquidation of the business in order to pay.
 

Le Zephyr

New Member
Oct 6, 2014
3
0
34
Jackson, NJ
Badfish - you're right on the money, pun intended. It seems almost all of this activity both past and present is fueled by monetary reasons. I agree about the fines and consequences being more in line with the actual crimes.

Ben - Thanks for the welcome. It's a very real issue that not many are, or ever will be, fully aware of due to its reclusive nature.

Boyd - Thats a very useful tool for exploring existing sites, I'm familiar with the software and am hoping to utilize something similar. Thanks
 

Teegate

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Site Administrator
Sep 17, 2002
23,598
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I They'd drive along a county road (East Brunswick was still very rural at that time) with the tank valve open, dumping whatever was in the tank on the road to run off onto the roadside.


My firmed says they do that on the PA turnpike and his white vehicle had stains on it that never came out.
 

joc

Explorer
May 27, 2010
187
18
Wall, NJ
I'm surprised no one has mentioned the Heritage mineral site . Its a Nuclear waste site (NRC ) , a large developer is attempting to build homes on an adjoining property . Manchester , RT 70 .
 
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