Case Study

Services – Brownfields

Somerset County Board of Chosen Freeholders, New Jersey – Belle Meade Depot/General Services Administration Site

The Somerset County Board of Chosen Freeholders retained JMS in 2005 to assist the County and Hillsborough Township officials in the purchase and environmental remediation of a 376-acre portion of the former United States Army supply depot in Belle Mead. In 2005, the site was owned by the United States General Services Administration (GSA) and held as surplus property. Local officials had deemed it “an area in need of redevelopment”. The County is currently overseeing the construction of Mountain View Park on a 86-acre portion of the former depot.

Soil contamination is present throughout the site as a result of past military supply operations. Contributing to this soil contamination is a history of extensive coal locomotive use, on-site PCB transformers, septic systems, battery disposal, and mercury storage. There are also sediment impacts in streams bordering the site due to stormwater runoff and deep chlorinated solvent groundwater contamination. In addition, the site contained roughly 2.5 million feet of concrete warehouse pads and 24 miles of rail beds and discarded railroad ties.

JMS completed a review of the environmental site record, including investigations from the early 1980s. Based on that review, JMS developed a cost estimate to complete remediation of the site. The remediation costs were identified either as those which could be reasonably quantified based on the investigation data available and those with undefined costs, requiring additional information to complete. The JMS estimate was used as the basis for negotiation of the sales price between the County and GSA. As a result, a dual escrow cost agreement was negotiated which reserved $15.735 million in purchase funds for the remediation and contained provisions, protective of municipal and county interests, that held GSA responsible for completing the cleanup in the undefined cost areas if available funds proved insufficient.

The property was purchased by the County in 2006 and JMS was retained to direct the remediation of the site in preparation for redevelopment. JMS prepared and submitted a Remedial Investigation Workplan to address the contamination issues on the site, which was approved by the NJDEP. In May 2012 an LSRP with JMS was retained by the County to confirm remediation is conducted according to technical regulations and in a timely manner.

As part of the Remediation Investigation phase, JMS conducted site wide groundwater sampling events, performed stream sediment sampling along, collected potable water samples at nearby residential properties, installed test pits to investigate the former battery debris dumping zone and conducted an extensive concrete chip sampling program on the warehouse slabs at the property. JMS provided oversight for the removal of roughly 24 miles of railroad ties and ballast stone. Based on the concrete testing performed, select areas were removed for off-site disposal, and the remaining clean slabs were crushed for re-use on site. Mercury impacted soils were also remediated via excavation and offsite disposal.

JMS completed the Remedial Investigation of the entire site in advance of the May 2016 NJDEP deadline. The County has begun construction of Mountain View Park on a 86-acre portion of the Site, and the opening of the park is slated for the fall of 2016. During construction JMS provided oversight services and addressed contamination issues as they arose. Once construction is completed, JMS will issue a Remedial Action Report detailing all remediation activities completed within the limits of the park.

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