The Community Information Session will be held in the City Council Chambers on Grove Street from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. There, staff of the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection will present a report on the current clean-up projects as well as the status of a health study being conducted near various Hudson County sites. DEP staff members will also answer questions.
Also addressing the public will be the state's environmental commissioner, Bradley Campbell, and Mayor Jerramiah Healy.
There are estimated 200 contaminated sites in Hudson County, with many of them in Jersey City, that were subject to chromium dumping from several companies, including Honeywell International Inc., Occidental Petroleum Corporation, and PPG Industries.
The disastrous aftermath of chromium dumping in Jersey City can be seen especially at sites on Route 440, Garfield Avenue, and behind the Jersey City Medical Center.
Chromium ore had been used for over 100 years to make paint pigments and other metal products. But a form of chromium known as hexavalent causes cancer and numerous respiratory problems if inhaled, as well as skin rashes on direct contact.
The hazards were documented by European scientists in the early 1900s. It is believed that most of the studies were known to the chromium producing companies in the United States and were suppressed.
Now, the information on chromium has become widely known to the public, and municipalities such as Jersey City are initiating litigation to hold companies responsible for dumping to clean up the mess.The city sees red and green
The Healy administration has become especially aggressive in pursuing litigation against the companies they deem responsible for turning potentially revenue-producing property into toxic wastelands.
In May, Healy, Campbell and other city and state officials appeared at a press conference near the Tempesta & Sons property on Jersey Avenue and Aetna Street, a chromium-contaminated site that the DEP announced it would clean up since they do not know who are the actual parties responsible for the contamination. But they are pursuing litigation against the companies they suspect are responsible.
At the same conference, Healy announced that the city had filed a lawsuit in State Superior Court against the Honeywell company to recover the lost tax revenue the city believes it would have received had the 34 acres the company still owns on Route 440 been developed with 1,500 to 1,600 units of housing.
Healy estimated that at least $100 million in tax ratables has been lost in the last 15 to 20 years because there has been no development on the property.
Healy's announcement came a few months after the third U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Philadelphia upheld a 2003 decision made by the U.S. District Court in New Jersey that Honeywell International was responsible for removing and treating the contaminated soil on the 34-acre site. Will affect residents near 440 site
It's been said that most of Jersey City is built on top of contaminated soil. This was once a major city of industry, where railroads ran and chemical companies prospered. But there is still much that is unknown about where the chromium pollution took place.
Monday's meeting comes not a moment too soon for the city's residents, especially those who live, work or just pass by the 34-acre Honeywell site on Route 440. Right now there are clean-up efforts underway.
What was once the location of the Roosevelt Drive-In and the Valley Fair Department Store is now one of the largest clean-up sites in Hudson County. And its impact has been felt more acutely in recent months.
This past summer, Roosevelt bowling lanes was closed after 40 years of business because it is located to the south of the 34 acres. Honeywell closed it as a precautionary measure since they believe the area is contaminated with chromium.
North of the site are the headquarters for the Jersey City Incinerator Authority, the city's Municipal Utilities Authority, and the Public Works Department.
Last week, Ward B City Councilwoman Mary Spinello said that the legal counsel from the Incinerator Authority has been monitoring Honeywell's clean-up efforts since it is possible that the Authority's employees may have to relocate if chromium contamination is discovered under the municipal building located closest to the Honeywell site.
Spinello said that there no reason to panic since Honeywell has installed air monitors in the vicinity of the Incinerator Authority building and is currently conducting health studies.
But one unnamed Incinerator Authority employee recalled a presentation made recently by Honeywell at his workplace, where they presented their health safety measures.
"I looked their equipment and I still wasn't convinced," he said. "All that clean-up and I'm supposed to feel safe - I don't think so." Sidebar The lowdown
WHAT: On Nov. 14, the City of Jersey City, Mayor Jerramiah T. Healy, and the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) will host a Community Information Session regarding the chromium study and cleanups in Hudson County. The information session will be held 5:30 p.m. at the Council Chambers in City Hall, located at 280 Grove St.
WHEN: NJDEP staff will address questions from the public individually starting at 5:30 p.m. NJDEP Commissioner Bradley Campbell and Healy will then address the public at 7 p.m. A chromium report, status of remediation efforts, and information on a health assessment study will be provided at this time. The session will conclude with a public comment and Q&A portion at 7:30 p.m.
HOW: For more information, call (201) 547-5200.