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Pascrell & Sires Ask DEP Commissioner for Keegan Landfill Update

Paterson, May 7, 2019

Today, U.S. Reps. Bill Pascrell, Jr. (D-NJ-09) and Albio Sires (D-NJ-08) sent a letter to Commissioner Catherine R. McCabe of the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) to inquire about the actions the DEP is taking to address health hazards and noxious odors at the Keegan Landfill in Kearny. The letter requests a staff briefing from DEP about the potential health hazards at the site.

“Given the proximity of this site to residential and recreational areas, all possible measures must be undertaken to protect the public against any possible negative health impacts, including prolonged exposure to hydrogen sulfide,” the letter states. “To address our constituents’ numerous concerns, we request your staff brief our offices about the state’s plan for addressing issues at the Keegan Landfill in Kearny”

The New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority (NJSEA), which owns the site, was fined on March 1, 2019 because of a violation of the federal Air Pollution Control Act. This law prohibits the emission of hydrogen sulfide in concentration levels greater than 30 parts per billion over a 30 minute-period. Since NJSEA was fined, hydrogen sulfide levels above 30 parts per billion have persisted at Keegan Landfill.

The letter continues, “[p]ublic health must be the top priority for the future of the Keegan Landfill. To that end we hope the DEP is coordinating closely with the New Jersey Department of Health to address all public health concerns. We look forward to our offices being briefed about the actions DEP is taking to remove health hazards and noxious odors at the Keegan Landfill in Kearny.”

Full text of the letter can be found below:

May 7, 2019

Catherine R. McCabe

Commissioner

New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection

401 E. State St.

7th Floor, East Wing

P.O. Box 402

Trenton, NJ 08625-0402

 

Dear Commissioner McCabe:

 

We write to inquire about the actions the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) is taking to address health hazards and noxious odors at the Keegan Landfill in Kearny, New Jersey. Given the proximity of this site to residential and recreational areas, all possible measures must be undertaken to protect the public against any possible negative health impacts, including prolonged exposure to hydrogen sulfide. To address our constituents’ numerous concerns, we request your staff brief our offices about the state’s plan for addressing issues at the Keegan Landfill in Kearny.

 

We understand the New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority (NJSEA) was fined on March 1, 2019 because of a violation of the federal Air Pollution Control Act, which prohibits the emission of hydrogen sulfide in concentration levels greater than 30 parts per billion over a 30 minute-period. We have been informed that hydrogen sulfide levels above 30 parts per billion has persisted at Keegan Landfill. These levels are unacceptable, especially if there is a possibility that an infraction may affect the health and safety of citizens.

 

Additionally, we understand DEP has entered an Administrative Order on Consent with NJSEA to develop an action plan for addressing odor violations. This plan has included the installation of continuous air monitoring equipment. We are encouraged by news of cooperation between DEP and NJSEA and urge both parties to work quickly to address possible removal of materials causing the prevalence of hydrogen sulfide to ensure our constituents’ quality of life.

 

Public health must be the top priority for the future of the Keegan Landfill. To that end we hope the DEP is coordinating closely with the New Jersey Department of Health to address all public health concerns. We look forward to our offices being briefed about the actions DEP is taking to remove health hazards and noxious odors at the Keegan Landfill in Kearny.

 

Thank you very much for your attention to our request.

 

Sincerely,

 

 

______________________________                           ______________________________

Bill Pascrell, Jr.                                                                       Albio Sires

Member of Congress                                                             Member of Congress

 

 

CC:       Vincent Prieto, President and CEO, New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority

            Shereef Elnahal, M.D., M.B.A., Commissioner, New Jersey Department of Health

 

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