"Three months after the Edison Wetlands Association released its disturbing sampling report on Troutman's Creek, New Jersey Natural Gas has just released its own report showing that none of its samples at the surface show any contamination by the company. These conflicting reports show why it's so important that the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) conduct its own testing at the site, something that I requested earlier this year.
"The Edison Wetlands report, conducted by Chapin Engineering, cited numerous areas in which dangerously high levels of contaminants exist throughout Troutman's Creek. Despite these findings, the gas company's report shows the underground coal tar residue is not spreading to the creek water at levels the state and federal governments would find dangerous. Chapin Engineering's report contradicts this finding when it concludes levels of polyaromatic hydrocarbons are higher than DEP guidelines allow.
"After the release of the Edison Wetlands Association report in February, I had hoped New Jersey Natural Gas would review the report's findings and address the contamination problems it unveiled immediately. Instead, the company conducted more testing, presumably to refute the Edison Wetlands report.
"Such delays cannot continue. It's time for the gas company to begin a productive dialogue with the Concerned Citizens Coalition. I hope they can come together and work with the DEP in coming up with a final report that all sides can agree on. I'm encouraged that the state agency will now undergo this investigation, and I'm hopeful it will determine the full extent of the contamination and its linkage to the former coal gasification plant. I strongly believe the DEP should include both the gas company and the citizen's coalition in all aspects of the agency's investigation so when the report is completed, its findings cannot be questioned.
"DEP should also complete this investigation as soon as possible so residents living around the creek can finally know how much contamination exists. New Jersey Natural Gas has a responsibility to clean up contamination caused by its operations. We can't allow the pollution of Troutman's Creek to continue negatively impacting the wellbeing of those who live here."