An environmental consultant examined a container full of bags of asbestos pipe wrap that was found at the River Road sewer department site, and discovered that the bags were punctured and the container had holes in it, according to a public document reviewed by Planet Princeton.
On Monday night at a 7 p.m. public meeting, the Princeton Council is slated to hire Whitman, a Pennsylvania-based environmental firm, to perform an environmental assessment of the River Road sewer site for a cost of up to $163,375.
According to the work proposal submitted by the Whitman firm on July 2, a container of asbestos pipe wrap that was found on the site was there for between two and seven years. The bags had holes in them and so did the container they were in.
“The bags are punctured and the roll off has a number of holes in it, allowing collected water to run out and potentially impact the surrounding soil,” reads the document. “There is also evidence of diesel spills due to asphalt hot box clean out by contractors on site.”
In addition to conducting an environmental assessment of the property, Whitman’s proposal included securing the container of asbestos on site “to prevent any further degradation of the bagged material and minimize impacts to the environment.” Representatives from the firm have already secured the container full of asbestos at the site, according to the proposal document. Field staff covered the container with two layers of plastic sheeting and secured the layers to the container with duct tape. Holes in the container were sealed with expandable foam, and asbestos warning signs were placed all four sides of the container.
The firm will test soil and water on and near the River Road property, and attempt to determine if materials dumped at the site have impacted the wetlands both at the site and possibly into neighboring Montgomery, according to the proposal document.
Federal and state regulations detail how asbestos should be removed and transported. In New Jersey, registered solid waste vehicles are required for the transportation of asbestos-containing materials. All vehicles transporting asbestos must be designed to prevent any spillage, leakage or emissions. No transporter is allowed to transport asbestos unless it is properly packaged in accordance with federal regulations. The asbestos also must be transported in a manner that prevents the rupture of the asbestos containers. Once collected, asbestos must be transported directly from the point of generation to the solid waste landfill or transfer station that is permitted to receive such waste, according to state regulations.
The River Road site is not licensed as a solid waste landfill and cannot accept asbestos. On June 11, the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection issued a violation notice to the municipality of Princeton for operating an illegal solid waste facility at the River Road site. Three Princeton employees have been fired so far in the illegal dumping scandal, and one has been charged with second degree bribery for allegedly accepting kickbacks in exchange for allowing contractors to dump dirt, asphalt, and other materials at the site.
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