HIGHLANDS – After collecting samples from dredged soils dumped on borough owned land by Captains Cove Marina adjacent to Huddy Avenue, more than six months ago, Borough Engineer Brian Matlack told the borough council at last night’s meeting that the soils have been cleared from the borough property and the cancer causing beryllium found in the dredged soils at the site has been found to be below a standard that could be cancer causing to people or animals according to state standards.
However, Borough Administrator Michael Muscillo, in response to questions from former borough Code Enforcement officer Jim Smith said the borough has paid for part of the cost of the sampling and the accompanying 2,038 page report and is currently in negotiation to see whether the borough will pay the entire cost. Smith had asked at earlier meetings since the soils had been dumped illegally on borough land, why the borough should be responsible for any cost as opposed to the person or company that dumped the soils. The administrator said he will review the status of payments and report back at the next council meeting.
Captains Cove Marina has been brought up on charges by current Code Enforcement Officer William Brunt for the illegal dumping and after a couple of postponements, that case is expected to be heard in municipal court March 17.
In March of last year, the CME engineering firm wrote Fred Rosiak of Captains Cove Marina, saying the firm learned temporary bulkhead repairs were ongoing at the Marina. The firm reminded Marina owners no work could proceed until engineered design drawing for permanent repairs had submitted, a requirement previously discussed with the company, and ordered work had to be halted until such permits were granted.
In October, after learning spoils had been dumped on borough owned land without authority, CME conducted a field investigation, in which they collected composite samples of the soil dumped on borough property, an unused right of way running parallel to both Huddy Avenue behind several residences and the side of the Marina. Those samples, they reported, indicated beryllium, a known carcinogen had been in some samples with at least one exceeding the level of concentration of reporting limits as tested by a professional laboratory testing firm. In November, CME recommended the stockpile of dredged material placed without authorization on borough land be disposed of in accordance with regulations, and post excavation sampling for beryllium be conducted once it is removed to ensure it all had been removed. It is payment for this 2,038 page report and sampling costs that Smith questions is a taxpayer expense that than one for the firm that illegally dumped the soils on borough property.
In other business at last night’s meeting, council introduced a bonding ordinance to refund $2.4 million long term debt obligation and authorize it be converted to a long term obligation of ten year, action recommended by financial officer Pat DiBlasi in order to make the addition of the proposed $$9.5 million of a new $10 million bond better for the borough. The $10 million is for construction of the proposed borough hall on Route 36 as outlined at the meeting the previous evening. Council did not indicate when the $10 million bond ordinance will be introduced, but it is anticipated at either the next meeting or the first meeting in March. Public hearing on the conversion of the $2.4 million is set for the March 17 meeting. Council also adopted a resolution to make application to the Local Finance Board in to make the change as required by law.
Council also is continuing its shared services agreement with the borough of Sea Bright for lifeguards for two public beaches in Highlands during the summer months.