Letter from Site Administrator

December 2020

For months, the COVID pandemic has disrupted the personal lives, working conditions and virtually every segment of the American economy. Not surprisingly, the pandemic has also interrupted remediation activities at the PPG chromium cleanup sites in Hudson County.

In early April 2020, it was agreed that due to the COVID pandemic, PPG should suspend field operations at all of its cleanup sites. This measure was taken to protect the public health as well as the health of PPG’s employees and remediation contractors. By mid-June 2020, PPG was able to resume limited field activities at the Garfield Avenue sites. By mid-August 2020, field activities had ramped up to nearly the same level of activity that preceded the COVID work suspension.

During this horrible pandemic, my overarching concern as Site Administrator has been to strike the appropriate balance between protecting public health and safety with the importance of continuing the remediation activities. Achieving the delicate balance between these sometimes-competing considerations is influenced by persistent variables such as COVID transmission rates, spikes, hospitalization rates, State and Federal guidelines and government orders.

However, during the April-June suspension of field operations, the creation, review and approval of detailed technical reports associated with the PPG chromium cleanups continued without interruption. These technical reports are critical to ensure that the work performed in the field has met NJDEP regulatory standards. These reports also ensure the properties are remediated, restored properly and ready for reuse or redevelopment.

During the past year, PPG has submitted and NJDEP has approved the final technical reports documenting the soil cleanups at numerous work sites in the Garfield Avenue area, including the former chromium processing plant property at 900 Garfield Avenue, otherwise known as Site 114, and the acreage surrounding it. The completion and approval of the soil remediation at Site 114 is significant because this area is key to the Canal Crossing Redevelopment Plan.

As NJDEP issues final approval of the cleanup reports, the oversight of any ongoing obligations at certain sites will be transitioned from my authority to licensed site remediation professionals, or LSRPs, under a process agreed to by PPG, NJDEP and the City of Jersey City. LSRPs are experienced, private-sector environmental scientists or engineers licensed by a professional board and authorized by NJDEP to direct and oversee certain environmental investigations and remedial actions in accordance with NJDEP rules and regulations. The LSRPs will ensure PPG’s work continues to meet NJDEP requirements as the sites undergo reuse or redevelopment.

Before field activities were suspended in April, contractors for PPG completed the excavations of Carteret Avenue and Halladay Street North. These are two key roadways adjacent to the Garfield Avenue Group of sites. The only remaining significant area of chromium soil contamination that requires remediation in the vicinity of the Garfield Avenue Group of sites is located under a building at the corner of Garfield Avenue and Caven Point Avenue formerly occupied by Ten West Apparel, Inc., and a small area to the east of that property.

Prior to the COVID suspension, PPG also made significant progress in its soil remediation efforts at Dennis Collins Park, which is located on the banks of the Kill Van Kull in Bayonne. PPG is now poised to complete its work at the park. Once the remediation work has been completed, the City of Bayonne plans a significant redevelopment and beautification of the park.

I am also pleased to report that a portion of the second phase of a three-phase groundwater remediation system in and near Garfield Avenue is up and running. You can read more about the system in the recent newsletter that is posted to this website. When all portions of the second phase are operational, the system is designed to extract significantly more volumes of contaminated groundwater than the first phase.

As part of my continuing efforts to communicate with the public regarding the status of PPG’s cleanup efforts, Progress Reports were submitted to Judge Jablonski of the Superior Court of New Jersey in March and July of this year. The Progress Reports, along with updated Master Schedules, cleanup reports and other information concerning the PPG sites have been posted to this website. Unfortunately, as a result of the pandemic, we did not conduct a public meeting this year. I intend to schedule a public meeting as soon as possible. Please check this website for more information.

I hope you find this website to be informative. As I have said in the past, I am committed to doing my best to make sure that the remediation and restoration of the PPG sites is done efficiently, effectively, expeditiously, transparently, and above all, safely. Having been born and raised in Jersey City and being personally familiar with some of the neighborhoods adjacent to the PPG sites, I have added reason to make certain the cleanups are done right.

The public is encouraged to use the following email address and phone number to reach me with any questions about the PPG sites: Email: Info@chromecleanup.com; Phone: 201-777-2099.

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RONALD J. RICCIO
Site Administrator, PPG Chromium Cleanup Sites