Shore town approves N.J.’s largest solar farm on Superfund site

(Public domain image)

(Public domain image)

A sprawling solar farm could soon become operational on an Ocean County Superfund site that’s roughly the size of Hoboken.

The Toms River Planning Board approved on Wednesday what officials peg as New Jersey’s largest solar farm on the Ciba-Geigy Superfund site.

Officials say the 1.25 square mile farm, planned by Toms River Merchant Solar LLC, a subsidiary of EDF Renewables, can generate electricity for more than 6,500 homes. Construction could start next year.

New Jersey Sierra Club Director Jeff Tittel lauded the approval.

“This is an important project that will take one of the dirtiest sites in New Jersey and turn it into clean energy. A solar farm on the former Ciba-Geigy Superfund is a step in the right direction,” he said.

Superfund is federal program that funds the cleanup of sites contaminated with hazardous substances and pollutants.

The Environmental Protection Agency has been monitoring cleanup at the 1,400 acre Ciba-Geigy site since it was placed on the Superfund National Priorities List in 1983. All manufacturing activities on the site — production of dyes, pigments, resins, and epoxy additives — ended in 1996.

Tittel says it’s imperative that the federal and state environmental agencies ensure that the site is properly cleaned.

“The people of Toms River have been suffering from the (groundwater) contamination coming from the Ciba-Geigy Superfund site for too long. They deserve a full cleanup. It is too important for the health and safety of the community,” he added.

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