EDISON—Mayor Jun Choi, along with federal, state and local leaders, announced the township’s purchase and preservation of the former Chemical Insecticide Corp.
“On this historic day, we take hold of a piece of property that was once contaminated and has now been transformed into open space for recreational purposes. This will be another step forward to improve the quality of life of Edison residents. This happened through a team approach and many people must be thanked – our U.S. Senators Frank Lautenberg and Bob Menendez, Congressman Frank Pallone, our state delegation, the U.S. EPA and our local environmental advocate Bob Spiegel,” Choi said.
The township will preserve the 6-acre site for open space and recreation. The CIC property is a former U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Superfund site. The EPA spent $53 million to clean up the site. Digging 30-feet deep into the ground in its cleanup efforts, the EPA removed more than 350,000 tons of contaminated soil. The site is now safe and well-suited for recreation and open space.
“Today, we begin a major transformation of these six acres of land,” Pallone said. “For decades, residents of Edison worried about the environmental hazards that came from the old CIC Superfund Site. Thanks to the efforts of Mayor Choi and the Edison Wetlands Association, residents will soon be able to safely use this space for recreation,” Pallone said.
“This site was once contaminated with toxins that polluted the surface water and threatened the health of our children. Congressman Pallone and I joined the Edison Wetlands Association and the local community and fought to get this site cleaned up. Today, I am proud those efforts paid off and this project is a model for the country when it comes to turning brownfields into greenfields. This is the way the Superfund program is supposed to work,” Lautenberg said.
The purchase price for the six-acre swath is $1 million. Of the $1 million price, $420,000 is coming from a Green Acres grant that was given to the Edison Wetlands Association and the balance is being paid for with township open space funds. The EPA will receive 90 percent of the purchase price with 10 percent going to the property owner, Piscataway Associates.
“Thanks to the federal Superfund program that governed the cleanups of toxic sites, CIC’s transformation from a formerly toxic borwnfield into a public Greenfield serves as a national working model for thousands of other brownfield sites across the country,” said Robert Spiegel, executive director of the Edison Wetlands Association. “CIC shows how communities like Edison, with advocates like EWA, can benefit from sites that once caused pollution and suffering.”
CIC owned and operated the Whitman Avenue site from 1954 to 1970. It was used for processing various pesticides. In the mid-1960s, the Edison Department of Health became concerned about odors, wastewater discharges and on-site fires. The Edison Health Department ordered the facility to stop discharging wastewater, oversaw disposal of leaking drums to eliminate the odor problem and ordered the closing of on-site lagoons. CIC declared bankruptcy in 1970. Subsequently, Piscataway Associates bought the property and demolished the production facilities.