VINELAND — City officials are moving to permanently prevent another hazardous waste-processing facility from operating at the contaminated Pure Earth Inc. site.

They want the site at the North Mill Road industrial park removed from Cumberland County’s solid waste management plan, City Solicitor Richard Tonetta said.

Removal from that plan would make it more difficult to open a hazardous waste-processing facility at the site, he said. The entity seeking to open such a business would have to go through a potentially difficult process to get the site returned to the plan, he said.

Additionally, Tonetta said, the city’s environmental lawyers are researching ways to have existing permits for the site rendered moot. The permits are issued by the state Department of Environmental Protection.

The DEP announced a few weeks ago that it would not allow a Spanish company to operate a hazardous-waste treatment operation at the site. DEP officials said the agency would not transfer the necessary permits to Tradebe Environmental Services. They said a significant reason behind the decision was stiff opposition to the plan by local officials.

The city originally considered allowing Tradebe to operate at a site other than the North Mill Road location, which is near residential properties and food-processing facilities.

However, Mayor Ruben Bermudez said that option no longer exists for Tradebe.

“We’re not interested,” Bermudez said of finding another location for Tradebe.  

The permits needed by Tradebe are held by Pure Earth, a company that city officials allege abandoned the industrial park site in February 2011.

City officials alleged that Pure Earth left behind more than 250,000 gallons of used motor oil, 100 55-gallon drums of chemicals and acres of stockpiled contaminated soils. They further alleged that runoff from the site is leaching into soil and possibly groundwater and tributaries of the Maurice River.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is proceeding with a stabilization and remediation program at the Pure Earth site. Local officials said the work will cost at least $1 million.

The EPA started the work in July after being notified by the DEP about significant problems at the site.

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