Published in The Coast Star on August 20, 2003

By Louis C. Hochman
Page 20


By Louis C. Hochman
    The U.S. Army’s plan to remove carcinogens from a JCP&L building at Camp Evans in Wall Township has been put on hold temporarily, according to an official connected to the project.
    “There are still some pending legal issues with a review of a decision document,” said Base Realignment and Closure Environmental Coordinator Chuck Appleby.
    The JCP&L building clean-up is part of a larger remediation of the former Army base being conducted before the Army turns over portions of its property to Wall Township and to Brookdale Community College.
    JCP&L plans to purchase an unmanned electrical station at Camp Evans the power company has leased since 1968.
    But, under state regulations, the company must clean hazardous polychlorinated biphenyl [PCB] remnants at Camp Evans before it can receive the property.
    Mr. Appleby described the legal concerns as “purely administrative” issues connected to the format of documents required by state law, and discovered by the Army’s attorneys.
    “The law requires that you really get all your ducks in a row.  We’re working with the Environmental Protection Agency, to try and resolve those issues,” he said.  “We had this all planned so we could move ahead, but now we’ve been stalled.”
    JCP&L has agreed to test its station to determine how extensive the contamination there is, said Camp Evans Restoration Advisory Board [RAB] Chairman Robert McAllan.
However, the company has not agreed to remediate it to residential standards and plans instead to use standards developed for industrial sites, he said.
“We have taken exception to that as a committee. We would prefer everything at Camp Evans be brought to residential standards,” Mr. McAllan said.
Initial testing at the JCP&L building last year revealed as much as 222 parts per million of PCBs, Army officials have said.  DEP safety standards call for no more than two parts per billion to be in soil.
Mr. McAllan said the RAB would like JCP&L to also test nearby sites for possible contam-ination that may have resulted due to occasional flooding, but the company has not yet shown a willingness to do so.  He said the RAB may ask Wall Township or Monmouth County officials to conduct the testing instead, if JCP&L’s tests of its own building show there is a need to do so.
In a related matter, the Army is set to move ahead with the replacement of a large electrical substation at Camp Evans, Mr. Appleby said. Removal of the existing substation is slated to begin today.
“We’re going to be installing a smaller transformer to service the Infoage center,” he said.  “They don’t have the level of need that we had when we were operating Camp Evans.”
The Infoage center is a science and history learning facility now on the site of Camp Evans.
The substation replacement should be complete by the end of November, Mr. Appleby said.
Within the next two weeks, the Army will complete its remediation of 38 sheds at Camp Evans where high levels of PCBs have been discovered, he said.  The Army is continuing to reject requests from the RAB that it also test at least another five sheds slated to become township property.
“Our position is that the DEP has approved our plan, and we’re going to stick with that.  We think it’s a good plan, and unless there’s additional information, we don’t have any intention of varying from it.”
“We’re continuing to push there,” said Mr. McAllan.
The Army and the board will soon address remediation issues regarding the Laurel Gully Brook, a septic tank and lead-based paint at the site, said Mr. Appleby. Officials had hoped to move ahead with those issues at a meeting of the board this week, but DEP officials were not available to take part in discussions, he said.
The lead-based paint issue has been largely decided, but officials are still looking to have dis-cussions with the DEP on the matter, said Mr. Appleby.
“The Army does have a policy on lead paint, and we’re not going to be remediating any lead paint hazards or issues,” he said.  “The township and Brookdale have accepted that.  They have said it’s an issue, but it’s one they can live with.”
Mr. McAllan said Wall will take on the cost of removing the lead paint itself.
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