Above: Gottheimer discusses next steps for the waste mountain in Vernon with DEP Commissioner Catherine McCabe and DEP Director of Solid Waste Enforcement Mike Hastry
VERNON, NJ – On Monday, December 3, 2018, U.S. Congressman Josh Gottheimer (NJ-5) led EPA Regional Administrator Pete Lopez, New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Catherine McCabe, and local elected officials and experts on a tour of the waste mountain located at 3 Silver Spruce Road in Vernon. Since July, Gottheimer has asked that the site be tested to ensure its safety to the surrounding community as it pertains to lead water and other environmental contaminants.
“I want to thank Regional Administrator Lopez from the EPA and Commissioner McCabe from the DEP for joining me in Vernon today,” said Congressman Josh Gottheimer (NJ-5). “I think we can all agree that we want our air and water to be clean so that our families and our children can be safe. I am hoping that we can get the necessary tests on the site so we can all sleep a little bit better at night. I will never stop fighting for clean water and clean air for our New Jersey families”
“We appreciate Congressman Gottheimer’s office for putting yesterday’s meeting together, and we will continue to work jointly with Congressman Gottheimer, Mayor Shortway and the proper authorities to make sure this issue is appropriately handled for the benefit of local residents and the environment,” said Senator Steve Oroho, Assemblyman Parker Space, and Assemblyman Harold Wirths (LD24). “It is important that testing be done in order to know what is going on inside the pile so that we can be confident our air and water are safe.”
“We appreciate Congressman Gottheimer’s continued work on this issue in Vernon,” said Vernon Mayor Harry Shortway. “We just want to get to the bottom of this so we can feel confident our air and water are clean for the families in our community.”
Gottheimer has written numerous letters to both the EPA and the DEP advocating for further testing of the waste mountain, including discrete core testing to ensure it is not a threat to the community. A private test done in September showed lead levels in water from the adjacent property with lead levels 1500% the permissible level according to DEP guidelines.