January 18, 2017
When I recently met with a group of top PPG executives at their construction trailer on the Garfield Avenue cleanup sites, I shared a thought with them that has been a primary focus of mine since the day I became site administrator: One day there will be a vibrant community right here where we all are sitting.
Since 2009, when PPG, the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection and the City of Jersey City agreed on a process for the chromium cleanups, the goal has been the efficient, effective and above all else, safe remediation of sites so residents can enjoy the full potential their neighborhoods offer.
Despite the many complexities inherent in a project of this scale, significant progress was made in 2016, my first year as site administrator. Key 2016 accomplishments include:
Approximately 47,000 tons of contaminated soil and debris were removed from the Garfield Avenue sites;
Berry Lane Park, Jersey City’s newest and largest city-owned park, was opened in June, made possible in part by the excavation and removal of chromium at two PPG cleanup sites;
The seventh and final round of the voluntary blood sampling program confirmed that the multiple and overlapping measures to prevent human exposure to hexavalent chromium during PPG’s soil cleanup at the Garfield Avenue sites has been effective;
Results from air monitoring at the cleanup sites show air quality remained well within strict safety limits developed by NJDEP scientists;
Two public meetings provided residents with an update on cleanup activities and an opportunity for them to share their thoughts;
Residential properties near PPG cleanup sites continue to be inspected and show no signs of chromate chemical production waste at any of the more than 30 homes inspected and the more than 20 homes where samples have been collected since the program’s inception in 2010;
Interim measures in place at cleanup sites that have yet to undergo final remediation continue to be regularly inspected to ensure against exposure risk to chromium; and
PPG conducted an excavation at Dennis Collins Park in Bayonne. City officials and PPG are coordinating the remaining cleanup commitments with renovations to the park that are planned by the city.
Though much work remains, I am confident that all the parties to the 2009 agreement are committed to fulfilling their obligations in a safe and timely manner, which will give rise to something special that people along Garfield Avenue and locations throughout Jersey City and Bayonne can enjoy for generations to come.
Very truly yours,
RONALD J. RICCIO