PRINCETON: Council told that contaminated debris on AvalonBay site will be hauled away

By Philip Sean Curran, Staff Writer
Stockpiles of debris contaminated with chemicals and metals will be hauled away from the AvalonBay construction site on Witherspoon Street starting in two weeks, a Princeton municipal official said Monday.
Town Engineer Robert V. Kiser told Princeton Council members that 30 dump trucks each would make three trips a day between Princeton and a disposal site in Pennsylvania to get rid of material now covered with plastic sheeting. Hauling is scheduled to last up to 26 business days, he said.
Municipal staff will be on site when the stockpiles are removed, and dust monitors will be used to check air quality. In the meantime, construction-related work at the future home of a 280-unit residential development has been halted.
Testing of stockpiled site material, such as old concrete and soil, found the presence of two chemicals, the town announced three weeks ago. Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, or PAHs, and polychlorinated biphenyls, or PCBs, pose health risks including cancer, according to the Federal Environmental Protection Agency.
Their discovery was made because the material had to be tested before it could be taken to a landfill for disposal, the town has said.
Further testing of other stockpiles showed that the level of PAHs and metals including nickel “exceed” residential standards set by the state DEP, the town said Friday in announcing the latest round of testing. But there was no “detectable” amount of PCB in the other samples, the town said.
“In this case, it wasn’t that there was no PCBs detected, it was just that they were extremely low levels,” town health officer Jeffrey D. Grosser said at the council meeting.
AvalonBay has provided the municipality with a copy of the remedial action plan that it had filed with the state Department of Environmental Protection. Per state regulations, an AvalonBay-hired consultant will be responsible for implementing the plan, with steps including capping the site and removing “surplus” stockpiles of “reworked site material.”
In a report posted on the municipal website, AvalonBay’s consultant EcolSciences said concrete and bricks from the old hospital buildings and the sidewalks were “crushed and included” with other materials, like soil and some pavement for re-use on the site. Collectively, that is known as “reworked site material.”
The EcolSciences report said that “a portion” of those materials had been “placed throughout the property and compacted.”
Town administrator Marc D. Dashield said Monday that AvalonBay would have to file with the Mercer County Clerk’s office a deed notice saying that there are levels of PAHs “capped underneath the property.”
AvalonBay expects to be finished with construction by the end of 2016, according to the EcolSciences report.
As part of the development, AvalonBay plans to install a public park in a spot where one of the stockpiles sits. Council President Bernard P. Miller asked Mr. Kiser about how the town can be sure there would not be residual contamination at the park.
In response, he said the soil would be excavated to a depth of two feet, a membrane installed and two feet of clean soil put back in place.