Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Franklin takes look at DEP sites

Thursday, August 24, 2006
By Ashley Randazzo

FRANKLIN TWP. -- Township officials are taking a proactive stance on contaminated sites in their community this week, visiting each of the 26 properties on a state Department of Environmental Protection list.

U.S. Gas, formerly Garoppos Service Center, at the intersection of Tuckahoe and Coles Mill roads, has been on the DEP's Known Contaminated Sites list for at least five years. The 2006 spring edition notes that the remedial level there is a "C2."

Garoppos' "remediation requires a formal design. The source of the contamination is known or the release has caused groundwater contamination," the DEP Web site explained of the C2 designation.

The Franklinville Preschool Academy on Tuckahoe Road is separated from U.S. Gas by a grass lot.

Star Cross Legacy Group owns the preschool, according to the Franklin Township tax office.

When visited at the preschool Wednesday, Williamstown resident Stacy Seeler, a preschool employee, said that the owners, Marianne and Tom Ruggiano, were at a funeral.

"I'm sure she'll be checking into it because it's obviously a concern," Seeler said when asked if the owner knew the day care was near a contaminated site.

"I know a few parents brought up the fact that we're next to a gas station," said Seeler. "(Marianne Ruggiano) was really concerned because of the other places (that are and possibly could be contaminated)."

The DEP's Bureau of Southern Case Management, the contact for Garoppos on the DEP Web site, primarily oversees environmental cleanups at sites subject to the Underground Storage of Hazardous Substances Act, where remediation may involve soil and/or groundwater, according to the DEP Web site.

"The township is currently doing an investigation as to why DEP still has (Garoppos) on the list," acting township Administrator Michael DiGiorgio said. He said the township learned from the DEP that storage tanks were replaced in the 1990s "and I'm waiting for information as to why it's still on the list."

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