Superfund-Site-Turned-Solar-Farm Wins EPA Award

by | Aug 3, 2015

A former Superfund site in New Jersey remade as a solar power farm has received the first-ever EPA Region 2 Excellence in Site Reuse Award.

The award recognizes Brick Township’s reuse of a former landfill site to create a solar panel array with 24,000 solar panels that supplies electricity to the township’s government buildings and community parks. The installation of solar panels began in June 2013 and the solar array became operational in 2014. It generates about 7,400 MWh of energy per year.

A solar development company, Standard Alternative, is currently operating the solar array and will continue to operate it until 2029. The township plans to take over ownership at that point. Brick Township estimates that the solar array will save the township about $13 million through discounted energy prices over the course of 15 years.

The 42-acre Brick Township Landfill in Ocean County, New Jersey, began operating in the1940s. It accepted many hazardous waste materials, including sewage, construction debris, and a variety of contaminated liquids. A private owner operated the landfill until 1973, when Brick Township acquired the property. The township continued operating the landfill until its closure in 1979.

The site was placed on the EPA’s Superfund National Priorities list in 1983. The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection initially had the lead responsibility for the cleanup. The EPA took over the site in 2007, and the cleanup work at the site was completed in 2013.

The work at the site included placing a cap on the landfill to prevent rain water from seeping into the landfill and spreading contamination. In addition, there are restrictions placed on the property that prevent the underlying groundwater from being used as drinking water.

The groundwater will continue to be monitored to ensure that the cap continues to function properly. While the cap was being designed, Brick Township worked to develop the plan to install solar panels on the landfill.

Waste Management is making diesel fuel and wax from gas captured at a landfill in Oklahoma, News OK reports. The East Oak Landfill was removed from the EPA’s Superfund list last year. It was placed on the cleanup list in 1992 because benzene, vinyl chloride and other contaminants were found in ground water.

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