Pallone Calls On U.S. Energy Department to Pay for Investigation & Clean Up at Middlesex Borough Landfill

Apr 23, 2004

Long Branch, NJ --- After an investigation completed by an independent environmental firm earlier this month outlined the clean up that should be undertaken at the Middlesex Borough Landfill, U.S. Rep. Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ) today called on the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), a former operator of the land, to pay for the investigation and now the clean up. Pallone made his request in a letter to Michael W. Owen, Director of the Office of Legacy Management at the Energy Department.

This Middlesex Borough landfill formerly operated by the Department of Energy from the mid-1940's until the early 1970's during which time radioactive material was placed at the site. In 1993, the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) issued a Directive to Middlesex Borough and the Energy Department regarding existing radiological materials. At that time, the Energy Department responded that all radiological concerns had been addressed. However, over the past eight years, Middlesex Borough has been required by the NJDEP to investigate and address radiological concerns that exist today at the landfill.

To date, the Borough has conducted an extensive remedial investigation of the landfill costing approximately $50,000. Furthermore, based on the investigation's findings, the Borough anticipates that a full remediation of the site will cost nearly $3 million. According to the independent report completed by the environmental firm Sadat Associates, the funds would be used for groundwater remediation, a new soil cover and a gas venting system.

"The Borough of Middlesex should not have to bear this financial burden given that radiological materials located at the site are the result of DOE activity," Pallone wrote in his letter to Owen.

"In light of the Borough's findings, I am requesting that DOE reimburse Middlesex Borough for the cost of investigating the existence of radiological materials, and further, that DOE take responsibility for the contamination at this site and provide funding for a full remediation of the radiological material," Pallone continued in his letter.

"I am well aware that DOE historical files note that all contamination issues at this site were addressed during the remedial actions of the 1980s at which time 30,000 cubic yards of soil contaminated by radiation were excavated and removed. However, I believe it is clear that all materials were not removed and that DOE must take responsibility to fully clean up this contaminated site," Pallone concluded.