ROXBURY, NJ – Water beneath the former Fenimore Landfill has levels of the possible carcinogen dioxane that are well above the state’s guidelines for groundwater, according to newly released test results.
The solvent showed up in a concentration of 4.8 parts per billion (PPB) in one of the five groundwater monitoring wells at the site. The state Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) has set 0.4 ppb as its groundwater quality standard.
The monitoring well that had the 4.8 ppb of dioxane in the November 2015 sampling - known as well MW201 - had 2 ppb of the chemical in an April 2015 sampling, according to a report from the DEP.
Another monitoring well at the site, MW202, was found to have 3.3 ppb of dioxane in November. It had 3.2 ppb in the April 2015 sampling.
The test results are likely to be discussed at Tuesday night’s meeting of the Roxbury Mayor and Council. Members of the Roxbury Environmental Action Coalition (REACT) are not happy the state took so long to provide the information to the township.
In an April 27 email to Roxbury Councilman Dan Kline official Ed Putnam said the delay was an oversight on his part.
Other than an asterisk in the MW202 column that means “compound detected with blank contamination in sample,” the DEP report, in the form of a chart, offers no information relating to the levels of benzene in the November groundwater samples.
In its April test, the state found in the well 15 ppb of the benzene, a known carcinogen with a state water quality limit of 1 ppb. However, in an August test of MW202 conducted by an expert hired by the township, only 2 ppb of benzene were detected.
In December, the township expert, which did not sample for dioxane, said he believes the former dumpsite poses no “significant or anticipated threat to human health or drinking water quality.”
The site was, for decades, used as a dumping ground for waste from Roxbury and beyond. It was never formally “closed” in an environmentally sound fashion and was all but forgotten until about four years ago when a new owner, Strategic Environmental Partners (SEP), attempted to create a solar panel installation on the land.
In doing so, SEP cleared a portion of the property and brought in many truckloads of fill material. Some of that material contained wet wallboard particles. These began producing noxious hydrogen sulfide odors, prompting a 2013 DEP takeover of the site. The state installed a multi-million-dollar impermeable cover and treatment plant that continues to burn off the hydrogen sulfide.