VINELAND - City officials will ask a county agency next week to take action that could prevent another hazardous waste-processing facility from ever operating at the local contaminated Pure Earth Inc. site.
Mayor Ruben Bermudez said he wants the site removed from the Cumberland County Solid Waste Management Plan.
Should that happen, city officials said, an entity seeking to open a hazardous waste-processing facility on the Pure Earth site would have to go through a potentially difficult process to get the site returned to the plan.
Bermudez said he will make the request a meeting of the Cumberland County Solid Waste Advisory Council on July 9.
"I believe once the SWAC is fully briefed regarding the history and condition of this site, and its potential negative impact on future economic development opportunities at the industrial park, they will look favorably upon out request to remove it from the plan permanently," Bermudez said.
"As mayor … it is my responsibility to protect the public health and well-being of our citizens and the environment we all live in," he said. "As long as I am in office, I have and will continue to take all necessary steps that are consistent with this obligation."
City officials allege 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 when it abandoned the site in the North Mill Road industrial park in February 2011. They further allege that runoff from the site is leaching into soil and possibly groundwater and tributaries of the Maurice River.
Federal agencies are spending at least $1 million to clean up the site.
Earlier this year, the state Department of Environmental Protection announced it would not allow the Spanish company Tradebe Environmental Services to operate a hazardous-waste treatment operation at the site. DEP officials said a significant reason behind the decision was the opposition by local officials to Tradebe's proposal.
City officials said they did not want another hazardous-waste processing operation near residential properties and food-processing facilities.
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