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Strategic Shift in EPA Harrison Sludge Plant Location Sparks Debate

Apr 01, 2024
EPA Toxic Sludge Plant Proposes Site Harrison NJ

In a recent press conference at Harrison Town Hall, Mayor James Fife announced a significant change in plans for the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) proposed Toxic Sludge Dewatering Plant. Initially slated for the PSE&G property on South Frank E. Rodgers Blvd, the facility is now set to find a home in the heart of Harrison at the Franklin D. Roosevelt Park, also known as the Harrison Library Park, nestled between South Frank E. Rodgers Blvd and South 5th Street. This move has ignited a mix of responses from the community and raised questions about the future of the area's environmental and urban landscape.

EPA's Plan and the Path Forward

The EPA’s initiative targets the hazardous byproduct of Agent Orange chemical production - toxic dioxin-laden sludge from the Passaic River. The plan involves extracting this sludge and debris, initially intended for the PSE&G site, and transporting it through a more direct route from Harrison Library Park to Route 280. This strategic relocation is touted to reduce transportation costs significantly, offering a streamlined approach to handling the toxic material. The EPA has stated that emissions from the Dump Trucks will be cut by 40% with this change in the location of the Toxic Sludge plant.

Innovative Solutions and Infrastructure Developments

The project encompasses the construction of a dedicated pipeline connecting the Passaic River to the Passaic Valley Sewerage Commission's (PVSC) network. This pipeline is designed to funnel the toxic sludge directly to the new dewatering plant in the Harrison Library Park and onwards to a secondary location in Newark's Ironbound Section, adjacent to the PVSC Sewerage Treatment Plant. This ambitious infrastructure effort aims to address environmental concerns efficiently while managing the hazardous toxic sludge generated by the sludge being brought up from the bed of the Passaic River.

Impact on Community Landmarks and Residential Areas

The relocation plan comes with its set of consequences, notably the demolition of the Harrison Public Library, the Harrison Post Office, and several homes along Ann Street & South 5th Street to accommodate the new facility and its ancillary needs, including parking for dump trucks. The EPA has committed to compensating homeowners above market value, a move that reflects the project's significant plus for homeowners. These developments mark the end of an era for buildings constructed with federal funds during the 1930s, a poignant reminder of Harrison's historical fabric.  EPA promises to save some of the art contained within the Harrison Post Office lobby.  Mayor Fife said that the town can save 1 million dollars in repair costs for the Harrison Public Library if the building is demolished. The 2024 Budget for the town has repair costs of over a million dollars.

Political Undertones and Public Sentiment

Mayor Fife's announcement also sheds light on the political dynamics at play, revealing efforts to amend previous statements regarding the use of the PSE&G site for toxic waste. The agreement with the EPA includes attempts to suppress certain public records, illustrating the complex negotiations and commitments shaping this project's trajectory. Mayor Fife requested that EPA use their political connections to erase his statement captured on Zoom video of the August 29, 2022, Harrison Redevelopment Zone meeting where inadvertently “Let the Cat Out Of The Bag” that EPA had a plan to bring Toxic Sludge from the Passaic River and dewater it at the PSE&G plant.  A statement, despite the video, Mayor Fife has since denied he ever made.

April Fools’ Day Twist: A Reality Check

As the narrative unfolds, it's revealed that the detailed plans for the sludge plant's relocation are part of an April Fools’ Day jest aimed at sparking dialogue and reflection on the actual environmental challenges facing Harrison. The mock proposal, while fictional, draws attention to real concerns over Environmental Justice and urban development in and around the Town of Harrison. The twist serves as a Call To Action, urging the community to engage our elected officials to stop EPA’s Toxic Sludge Plant that is being planned in a Residential Zone (no longer an Industrial Zone) across the street from new Apartment Buildings.

What is Reality is just as bad as what was written above as part of an April Fool’s article.  EPA and Mayor Fife (and other council members, possibly all of them), are FOR a Toxic Sludge Plant in what is now a Residential Community.  It is no different than placing the plant at Harrison Library Park.

Please attend Harrison Mayor & Council meetings and Harrison Redevelopment Agency Meetings and express your opinion on Social Media to stop EPA’s plan to Dewater Toxic Sludge in Harrison at the PSE&G property.

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