In real estate they always talk about location, location, location. People want sweeping vistas, that oceanfront view and if you’re really adventurous that property in Alaska complete with the outhouse and grizzly bears. Point is picking a place to live can be a dangerous ordeal. With those vista’s you have to worry about falling, oceanfront allows for the possibility of flooding or drowning and grizzly bears, well those are pretty much self-explanatory. Some dangers are a little less pronounced. Dangers like living next to a formerly closed dump, which has been the cause of health problems and headaches for residents of Roxbury Township in New Jersey.
Three years ago, the Fenimore landfill on Mooney Mountain was re-opened much to the chagrin of those living nearby. Spanning over 18 acres the dump covers four underground streams, spews toxic fumes and is filled with hazardous materials. The state of New Jersey and the state Department of Environmental Protection understand that the region is under threat from the landfill but residents feel as though the state is trying to fix a major wound with a Band-Aid.
The state wants to just cap the area with a large, plastic lining and then put clean fill on top of that. Such a cap would make the landfill more aesthetically pleasing but it does not address the more serious situation that lies under the ground.
“I was on site yesterday,” said Township Manager Christopher Raths, “They (the DEP) have put up a center connection piece for piping, and that took the oxidizer and the scrubber down for two hours.”
Noxious fumes aren’t the only thing residents will have to worry about as gypsum, wallboard and other hazardous materials have the potential to further affect the troubled region. The state estimates that it will take close to $40 million and that it would take up to five years to remove all of the material. A costly endeavor for the state but residents aren’t too certain as they believe it will take a little over a year and closer to 12 million dollars. Why the difference in estimates? Residents like Bill Morrocco believe the state may have another agenda.
“He has been telling state senators that they (the DEP) are bettering our community. They have an agenda, and they don’t want anybody sticking their noses in their business. With a plastic liner, you can’t put a park on top. It’s prohibitive.”
By doing the bare minimum the state is jeopardizing both the community and the environment. If the state did follow through on plans to actually improve the region it would create jobs for contractors who could help restore the region by clearing away the hazardous materials and by building on top of the clean fill.