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June 2007

Landfill settlement enables creation of urban greenway

New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) Commissioner Lisa P. Jackson announced a major settlement that will result in the final closure of the Linden Landfill.

The Administrative Consent Order between Linden and DEP requires the city to finish properly closing the landfill and to enhance 50 acres of surrounding forest areas and wetlands that will be the core of a Linden City Greenway.

The city also agreed to pay $1 million to settle past violations of DEP landfill closure requirements. The settlement sets aside an additional $2 million to create opportunities for the public to enjoy fishing, hiking trails, boating, and wildlife viewing.

Specifically, the Administrative Consent Order requires:

  • Payment by the city of a $1 million penalty for DEP violations, including improper closure of the landfill and disturbance of wetlands caused by installation of a clay containment wall;
  • Linden’s commitment of an additional $1 million for greenway access projects and establishment of education and interpretive programs in conjunction with a non-profit environmental group;
  • DEP commitment of $1 million in matching money for greenway projects that comes from a separate settlement with Merck & Co. for natural resource damages associated with contamination of ground water in the area. Ten additional acres of wetlands preserved as part of this settlement will be made part of the greenway.

The Linden Landfill, encompassing 55 acres, began accepting municipal waste more than 50 years ago, prior to state oversight of landfills as authorized by the Solid Waste Management Act. It ceased operations on January 1, 2000.

The DEP-approved closure plan allowed the city to use material dredged from the Arthur Kill for grading, in preparation for final capping. The city began placing the material on the landfill in December 2002.

But the city and its contractor did not follow conditions for acceptance of the material and other requirements of the closure plan. DEP issued a series of violation notices and civil penalty assessments.

The settlement requires the city to verify that contaminated soil and processed dredged material that migrated off the landfill and into surrounding wetlands have been cleaned up. The city must complete all closure activities by June 1, and provide long-term, post-closure monitoring.

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