Tests done in preparation for the dredging of Edgemont Park pond found higher than expected soil contamination levels, forcing planners to scrap an extensive improvement plan.
Though the contaminants are believed to be naturally occurring, Business Manager Marc Dashield said the finders were a disappointment for the township.
“Those ... unfortunately aren’t the best findings,” said Dashield. “These contaminants ... can normally be in the soil, it is just they are at higher levels than what is acceptable" for residential use.
The soil testing was done in anticipation of dredging the pond. The dredging was expected to make the pond deeper and remove sediment clouding the waters. In addition, the retaining walls encircling the pond will be replaced.
However, due to the test results, the project will focus primarily on building the retaining wall with limited dredging near the edges.
“Based on [the results of the testing],” said Dashield, “we would do mostly the wall and as much of the dredging as we can.”
If the soil did not test positive for high levels of contaminants, the township could have done more dredging at an overall lower cost. The township was in talks with Montclair State University, which would have taken the soil for a construction project at the university.
The township was expecting to dredge about 6,600 cubic yards of material out of the pond if Montclair State University took the soil. The cost of the project would have been approximately $798,000.
However, the township will now most likely have to dispose of the soil at a environmental facility. With the add transportation and disposal costs, the dredging will be reduced to 3,000 cubic yards to stay under budget for a total cost of about $808,000.
“We are still going to see what we can do about [the soil],” said Dashield, “but we are very disappointed [with] the results.”
Although the township paid for both this more comprehensive testing and a previous testing, at a cost of approximately $5,000 each, Dashield said the testing was a “great opportunity” for the township to try and lower the costs of the construction.
“We at least know [the soil] does not meet residential standards,” said Dashield, “so it definitely can’t be used for clean fill. ... It will be likely that it will be disposed of at a specific facility that disposes of contaminated soil.”
The cost of the project will be paid for by Green Acres Grants.