Published in The Asbury Park Press on May 25, 2000
By JOHN A. HARNES
COASTAL MONMOUTH BUREAU WALL – Army officials plan to meet with township representatives within the next two weeks to discuss the lead paint on buildings at Camp Evans.
The buildings are being turned over to the township as part of the federal closing of this former military research facility.
The federal government banned the use of lead-based paint in 1978 because of health concerns. However, most older buildings in New Jersey were painted at one time with lead paint.
“The Army only looks for lead paint when we are transferring the property for residential use or where there are going to be child facilities,” said environmental coordinator Charles Appleby. “They are not going to use the property for either of those uses.”
However, the Camp Evans Restoration Advisory Board that is overseeing the Army’s cleanup work is still concerned.
“We’re setting up a meeting with (fall officials to review the future uses of the area to determine the best approach to ensure lead pain hazards are eliminated,” Appleby said.
Fred Carl, a member of the Camp Evans Restoration Advisory Board who is also director of INFOAGE Inc., a nonprofit group working to establish an information age center using historic buildings at the site, said it’s important for the Army and Wall officials to work together.
“The Army is supposed to turn the buildings over occupationally as safe as when they left them,” Carl said. “Some of the buildings were used as residences, and if the Army maintains the building properly, there should be no additional lead hazards than those found in other common historical buildings.”
Appleby said the Army is moving ahead with removing sewers at Camp Evans in an effort to clean up any potential mercury contamination.
“We’re about 59 percent completed with the sewer project,” Appleby said. The contractor removing the sewer pipes has identified several lateral pipes off the main sewer line that were contaminated and those smaller pipes have been removed, he said.
During this work two contaminated areas were found, one with mercury and the other with PCBs.
Appleby said mercury and PCBs leaked from sewer pipes in the past at these locations in the central complex area that will eventually be transferred to Brookdale Community College. Both areas will be cleaned up before the land is transferred, he said.
“We would have never identified these contaminated sites without removing the sewer system,” Appleby said.
“It’s good that the Army is making the extra effort to find all these problems, ” Carl said. “The correct thing to do, to maintain the historic buildings for the future, as outlined in (federal Base Closure and Realignment Commission) goals, is to replace the sewers to maintain the historic buildings.”
Appleby stressed there are no sewers being replaced or new contamination found in the 52 acres, most of it open fields, and includes nine buildings, that should be transferred to Wall later this summer.
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