Judge orders mediated talks over claims of contaminated soil dumping in N.J.

 Shown here is a photo of Soil Safe dumping materials at the Equine Park in Gloucester County, New Jersey. (Image courtesy of the Delaware Riverkeeper Network)

Shown here is a photo of Soil Safe dumping materials at the Equine Park in Gloucester County, New Jersey. (Image courtesy of the Delaware Riverkeeper Network)

A judge has ordered a soil cleanup company and an environmental group to meet at the mediation table within the next 30 days.

It’s the next step in a legal dispute over Soil Safe’s offloading operations in Gloucester County, New Jersey, near Dream Park.

The Delaware Riverkeeper Network is suing Soil Safe, claiming that the company is breaking federal law by not properly cleaning up the soil before dumping it.

“They have promised they would take these environmental materials, subject them to a process that renders them safe for the environment for human contact, so that is would be OK to dispose of them on public lands near our rivers near wetlands,” Delaware Riverkeeper Maya van Rossum said.

Her group reviewed Soil Safe reports submitted to the state Department of Environmental Protection – and van Rossum said the company hasn’t kept its promise.

Van Rossum said some of the dumped soil is supposed to be used for “capping” to cover over contaminants in the ground. She says instead of creating a safe barrier, Soil Safe has created another “potential hazard.”

Asked if residents should be concerned about the danger alleged by the van Rossum, New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection department spokesman Bob Considine said in an email, “We don’t comment on our own litigation, let alone someone else’s.”

Soil Safe’s president Mark Smith also declined to comment on the ongoing litigation.

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