REACT Founder: NJDEP Did Not Consider Well Water in Landfill Proposal

Roxbury Township residents claim the Fenimore Landfill is giving neighbors headaches, nosebleeds, nausea and respiratory problems so the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection met with residents this week for the first time. Roxbury Environmental Action Coalition Founding Member Shannon Caccavella told NJTV News Anchor Mary Alice Williams that the NJDEP did not have an answer about how its proposed plan will affect the well water that many residents use and drink in their households.

Caccavella said that she was horrified by how the NJDEP came into the meeting Tuesday with their experts, proposing a plan that they were saying the resident had no choice in.

Residents were upset with the NJDEP plan to cap the landfill. The soil should be trucked out since the NJDEP allowed the owner to bring in materials that had dangerous substances that are causing people to become ill, Caccavella said.

She said that the material that was brought in is wall board, brought in from Hurricane Sandy and once that material gets wet, it produces hydrogen sulfide, which contaminated the air.

The NJDEP says that trucking the material out would cost $38 million but Caccavella said that she is not sure that is an accurate estimation. She thinks trucking it out is the best option because the property would not have to be maintained and watched by the state afterward.

“I live about 250 feet from the landfill and I am on a well and the NJDEP’s proposed plan of capping it, putting a liner and clean fill on top of it did not even take into consideration any of the ground water. I was unable to use my water for over eight weeks in my home because of hydrogen sulfide in my water. They claimed that it is a coincidence and that the landfill did not cause my well to become contaminated but I have lived there for 12 years and I have never had an issue,” said Caccavella.

She said that she had to have her well water treated twice with a chlorine-based chemical to get rid of the hydrogen sulfide odor.

Caccavella said that NJDEP did not take any suggestions into consideration. “We were begging them at the meeting on Tuesday night to take into consideration all of the aspects, trucking it out. I verbally asked them if this was a done deal and they said yes. We are in fear that they are going to start this project of capping the landfill and they are going to start drilling 21 more wells, which will open up all of the hydrogen sulfide,” she said.

She said they asked NJDEP to put a slide up from their presentation to show residents where the waterways were and they said they did not take that into consideration. Caccavella said that NJDEP’s main goal was to abate the odors, which doesn’t take into account the health of children and families of the Roxbury community.

“It’s a health issue. The hydrogen sulfide is causing children and families to become sick. My 10-year-old daughter has been seen by numerous doctors because of the migraines that are caused by the hydrogen sulfide,” Caccavella said. She said that doctors think the cause is the hydrogen sulfide.