BAYONNE, NJ - Work to upgrade Dennis Collins Park has been temporarily halted in order to allow the sites's owner to clean up chromate chemical production waste from sites elsewhere that was used as filler for construction of the park.
“It was all right to leave it where it was as long as we did not disturb it,” Mayor Jimmy Davis told TAPinto Bayonne. “But once we started renovations and disturbed it, we needed to have it cleaned up. We’re allowing (the company) to come in and do it, and once it is completed, we’ll never have to be concerned with it again.”
Investigation into the possible contamination of the Dennis P. Collins began in early June 1998 after it became clear that waste from PPG facilities elsewhere in Hudson County had been used as ground fill.
Under New Jersey law, responsible parties such as PPG are required to clean up contaminated sites according to environmental requirements. The cleanup standard at all PPG sites includes the removal of all visible chromate chemical production waste (CCPW), which is a byproduct of the chromium manufacturing process.
As a result, PPG has undertaken additional investigations to determine the extent of the additional CCPW. During an investigation in September 2013, PPG took a series of steps, which have been approved and inspected by representatives for the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, to prevent human exposure to the CCPW until a permanent cleanup can be conducted.
The preventive measures included removing CCPW near the ground surface at several locations, covering these areas with plastic liner topped off with four inches of soil and three inches of sod, and placing fencing around each location.
In addition, PPG’s environmental consultant conducted regular inspections of the park with representatives for NJDEP, which has jurisdiction over PPG’s investigation and cleanup work.
A series of proven health and safety measures – including air monitoring – will be in place when PPG’s contractors are drilling beneath the ground surface to collect soil samples. PPG did most of the cleanup in 2013-2014, but there were some areas that became uncovered during the recent work being done in the park.
While work had continued on the renovations despite the COVID-19 outbreak as part of Davis’ plans for upgrading parks throughout the city, the mayor said it was prudent to delay the upgrades to the park to allow PPG to finish the job.
Phase I of improvements to Dennis Collins Park, which involved the installation of playground and exercise equipment, renovated tennis courts, the construction of a new volleyball court, dog runs, planting of new trees, installation of new benches and more, were completed in 2018.
Necessary upgrades to the park over the last few years also included fortifying the crumbling shoreline.
Editor's Note: Article updated to reflect an earlier error regarding previous ownership of the site.