Denise Pilovsky has been a Barnegat resident for 21 years. She’s concerned about the welfare of her daughters and her community, and the township committee is listening.
Pilovsky went before the committee at its meeting Monday night, June 4, to discuss the soil in the area known as the “Tanner’s Pit Property,” an area that previously contained a landfill and a solid waste recycling factory, according to a report to the Barnegat Planning Board from Peter Van Den Kooy, P.P., AICP, dated May 22, 2012. The subject of the report was the Gunning River Road Area in Need of Redevelopment Investigative Study.
She was concerned there might be problems with the soil, and questioned a possible connection to a rare liver disease shared by her two daughters, who are 21 and 17 years old, respectively.
“The township will inquire about that and request samples be taken of the groundwater and soil,” Barnegat Mayor Alfonso Cirulli said. “ … When she said she had children with a rare liver disease, that was enough for me and the rest of the members of the committee to spend $700 or $800 to do the samples. We’re going to move on that.”
According to the report, Tanner’s Pit Property has a history of violations for operating a Solid Waste Facility without a permit, as well as storing demolition waste and recycling areas without the necessary approvals from the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP).
According to the report, which Pilovsky shared with members of the committee and the media, the Tanner’s Pit Property was hit with penalties for violating the Sanitary Landfill Facility Closure and Contingency Fund Act, the Solid Waste Management Act, and other related NJDEP regulations relating to inspections conducted between July 1, 1992 and July 6, 1996.
From October of 1994 to July of 1998, Tanner’s Pit was penalized for failure to comply with groundwater sampling and reporting requirements contained within the New Jersey Pollution Discharge Elimination System (NJPDES) permit issued to allow the discharge of leachate to groundwater, according to the report. Violations continued through March of 2004. The areas to the northeast, east and south of Tanner’s Pit were developed for residential use, the study says.
The study concludes that many hazards exist on the site, including large piles of debris and potentially contaminated soils; that a number of illegal activities have taken place, such as illegal dumping, trespassing and vandalism; and that there is a significant danger to the safety, health and welfare of the community.
The study recommended that the Gunning River Road Area be declared an Area in Need of Redevelopment.
Tanner’s Pit is 69 acres, is located northeast of Lillian M. Dunfee Elementary School on Gunning River Road, and has been part of Barnegat for at least 35 years.
“I believe they dumped concrete and some other things in there, but I don’t think it was ever supposed to be a toxic waste site,” Cirulli said.
According to Cirulli, Pilovsky is the first person to raise this question before township committee.
“I’ve lived in Barnegat for 21 years, and I have two girls with a rare liver disease,” Pilovsky said. “Could the soil be the problem?”