VERNON TOWNSHIP, NJ --- The topic of "blue pillows" in the waterways brought forward by the environmental commission still remains as a hot topic amongst the citizens and council at Monday night's township council meeting.
After the environmental commission conducted a presentation at the previous August 27 meeting, more citizens have become curious and worried about what exactly lay in their waterways.
These "blue pillows" were put in place by Tennessee Gas Line to prevent a water runoff. However, over the course of time, they have turned into a black, gooey substance resembling tar which has a terrible stench to it. The environmental commission is firmly supporting their side and stating that it is gasoline or a petroleum substance which can be hazardous to the citizens drinking water.
One citizen approached the stand during public discussion and stated, “The environmental commission believed it some type of gasoline or petroleum substance, but Tennessee Pipe Line says it is iron bacteria in standing water which can often resemble petroleum. What is your stand on this? It is your responsibility to take care of this community. What the hell is going on? The citizens have a right to know.”
“We were not partied to any negotiations with Tennessee Pipe Line at the time,” said councilman Patrick Rizutto. “It is property owned by the Newark watershed, not Vernon.”
“As far as I’m concerned, this is a health concern. It is your responsibility to figure it out. You are a council, you should know this,” said the citizen.
In that moment, Beverly Budz from the environmental commission spoke to the council about the substance.
“The soil samples all tested for petroleum,” said Budz. "We took the tests in April, it is not iron it is petroleum. We need $800 for a soil sample which we cannot afford.”
Budz held up a plastic bag with a pair of rubber gloves, which slowly became destroyed and started disintegrating from touching the substance.
“Water runs, it does not stay in one spot. I have the samples in this cooler but I will warn you it gives you a headache and is intoxifying,” said Budz to the council.
“One thing is not clear to me and it is if this substance is toxic,” said councilman Eddie Dunn. “If it is, I will get behind any initiative but I want to act on the facts. I want to work together as a community but I need those facts.”
“We haven’t had the ability to collect the facts with a responsible agency. The first issue is the commission needs a plan put forward. There was talk of bringing Cory Booker to look at the watershed. I wish we had the health department back in town to take some analysis,” said councilman Dan Kadish.
In other business:
Mayor Victor Marotta addressed the public from the mayor's report, discussing the current electronic difficulties at the municipal building.
“There was a lightening strike which hit this building. The electronic work is not working and several computers are down,” said Marotta, “Certain rooms seem to be functioning properly but it is an expensive expenditure to put this back together. It is $50,000 in damage but a couple weeks down the road we will get reimbursed. It effects communicating via email and several phone lines are destroyed. We are working as fast as we can to get this matter fixed.”
The council had also declared the month of September prostate cancer month.
“I have seen what women have done for breast cancer with the media, but I don’t see men doing it for prostate cancer. Most autopsies of men over 65 have it detectable. They don’t always die of it but they die with it.”
The council hopes to spread the awareness of this subject in order for men to get tested in time to cure the disease before a fatality occurs.