The planning consultant, Frank Banisch, is scheduled to appear at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday as possibly the final expert to appear on behalf of the township in the board's examination of plans by the Millington Quarry to close up and "rehabilitate" the quarry property off Stonehouse Road.
Since the last November, the quarry presented an array of witnesses, over the course of six hearings through November, outlining how the owners plan to someday transform the quarry pit and adjoining land into property usable for residential development.
The planning board then called consultants on behalf of the township to dissect the plan, which, among other steps, would create
At the most recent meeting in April, environmental consultant Jennifer Wollenberg said publicly that the quarry as it now exists and is planned for rehabilitation in the future presents no hazard to humans.
However, Wollenberg also testified that some of the identified contaminants in soil at the site could present a limited hazard to certain wildlife. She said that conclusion was partially based on the very strict standards New Jersey has for the detected presence of any pesticides such as DDT.
Wollenberg also suggested an additional monitoring at the edge of the proposed lake to determine if contaminants further away on the property would be seeping into the lake.
Upon questioning from the board, Wollenberg noted a certain level of uncertainty exists in her findings since the quarry is conducting additional sampling of potential soil contamination on the property. Those results may not be available for a few more months, according to the quarry's representatives.
The detection of contaminants in soil being brought into the quarry site sparked a lawsuit between the township and quarry owner and operator that has never been settled. Initial testing in 2010 showed some presence of arsenic and lead in some soil borings on the property.
A watchdog group, Citizens for a Clean and Safe Millington Quarry, is calling for residents to attend Tuesday's meeting, and to prepare to give testimony and voice opinions following final testimony.
"Your presence alone will speak loudly about the further importation of fill, especially at this time when the quarry has been found by the DEP [state Department of Environmental Protection] to be environmentally contaminated and is under its jurisdiction to determine the extent of contamination and an appropriate remedy," said an email from the group. That remedy might include capping an area of the property with contaminated soil, or potentially removing it, the group said in the email.
During the hearings, the quarry's representatives said that soil and fill that would be brought in to fill in quarried areas would be either purchased or could be brought in from other sites looking for someplace to dispose of fill — but that in either case, the material would be certified as clean.