JOINT BASE MCGUIRE-DIX-LAKEHURST, N.J. - Nearly 83,000 tons of contaminated earth were safely removed from the Caven Point U.S. Army Reserve complex in Jersey City as part of the largest soil-removal project in Army Reserve history.
This record-setting, $7 million remediation effort began in the summer of 2009 and is now in its final phase of quarterly groundwater monitoring.
“Since the source (of contamination) has been removed, we expect ground water to return to a healthy condition in a few years,” explained Laura Dell’Olio, a contractor with Innovar Environmental Inc. who serves as Installation Restoration Program coordinator for the Army Reserve’s 99th Regional Support Command.
As a result of this cleanup effort, the Caven Point site received an Unrestricted Remedial Action Outcome through the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, certifying that all contaminants in the soil were removed in accordance with the most stringent remediation standards.
“We could have just put a few feet of soil on top of some of the areas that were contaminated,” Dell’Olio continued, “but some of the contaminants, which ranged from asbestos to metals to arsenic to other petroleum contaminants, had to be removed because they were so hazardous.”
Some of this hazardous material dates back to the early 1940s, when the Caven Point Army Terminal was built on a landfill comprised of material dredged from Upper New York Bay, Dell’Olio explained. Many of the soil contaminants removed from the site originated in this dredged sediment, while others included asbestos material used for paving and fuel-oil leaks from two above-ground storage tanks.
“We’re managing a natural fill issue and a contamination issue,” Dell’Olio said.
The 99th RSC maintained oversight of the project, which was funded by the Office of the Assistant Chief of Staff for Installation Management. While less time, money and effort could have been spent by merely “capping” many of the affected areas at Caven Point, the decision was made to invest in removing all contaminated soil for offsite disposal.
This investment should pay dividends for decades to come, as Caven Point is currently undergoing several construction projects to include the Army Reserve Center receiving a full-facility revitalization starting this month, a new organizational maintenance shop opening in the coming weeks, and a proposed 20-mile gas pipeline expansion project involving both New Jersey and New York.
“The Army Reserve made the decision to take a more aggressive approach and actually remove all the contaminants from the soil so they would have a clean slate to start building,” Dell’Olio said. “Since so much of this area was going to be disrupted during construction, taking the more aggressive approach and removing the source of contamination just made it a lot easier for construction to occur.”
The 99th RSC provides base-operations support to all Army Reserve Soldiers, Civilians, Families, units, facilities and equipment for the entire Northeast Region of the Army Reserve, including the states of Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, New Jersey, New York, Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Maine, Connecticut and New Hampshire and the District of Columbia. Specific services performed include management of human resources, logistics, finance, facilities, equipment maintenance, information technology and those well-being functions typically provided by Army installations. The RSC further exercises command and control of five Army Reserve bands stationed throughout its 13-state region.