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Environmental Enhancement

The Hudson/Raritan Estuary is one of the most significant of the region's environmental resources. It once harbored a fishery that rivaled that of the Chesapeake.

As with other projects on the New Jersey coast, New Jersey Department of Transportation’s Office of Maritime Resources (NJDOT/OMR) is working with its partners to reverse decades of neglect and misuse. The potential is there for recovery, and it is a goal of NJDOT/OMR to work with the resource community to study and rebuild through research and the development of sound public policy.

Hudson-Raritan Estuary Restoration

The United States Army Corps of Engineers was authorized to determine the feasibility of environmental restoration and protection relating to water resources and sediment quality within the New York and New Jersey Port district.

The Hudson-Raritan Estuary Restoration program, includes the creation, enhancement, and restoration of aquatic, wetlands and adjacent upland habitats.

The Reconnaissance Phase Investigation, completed in June 2000, identified 87 ecosystem restoration sites for consideration in a Feasibility Study.

NJDOT/OMR is an Executive Committee member along with the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey (non-federal sponsor), New York Department of Environmental Conservation, and the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, New York City Department of Environmental Protection, New York City Department of Parks and Recreation, and New York State Department of State are working with the United States Army Corps of Engineers to successfully implement a restoration effort throughout the Harbor.

Lower Passaic River Remediation and Ecosystem Restoration

The United States Army Corp Engineers (USACE), United States Environmental Protection Administration (USEPA), and NJDOT/OMR (as nonfederal sponsor) have been working on an innovative partnership to comprehensively restore the Passaic River for the last several years. This governmental partnership has initiated an Investigation and Feasibility Study (FS) for comprehensive remediation and restoration of the Lower Passaic River.

The Lower Passaic is one of the 10 most contaminated rivers in the country. A six-mile river segment has been designated an Operable Unit of the Diamond Alkali Superfund Site. This area has been the subject of a Remedial Investigation/Feasibility Study (RI/FS) pursuant to Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA) since 1994.

Superfund investigations indicate that the sediments are contaminated with many constituents including (but not limited to) dioxin (2,3,7,8-Tetrachloro-dibenzo-p-dioxin [TCDD]), polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), dichlorodiphenyl-trichloroethate (DDT), and metals (mercury, lead, cadmium, copper, etc.).

Contaminated sediments in the river impact the ecological and human receptors in the area, limit the potential for waterfront development and future land use, and are likely to be a significant contributor to the contaminant loading in the New York/New Jersey Harbor. Contaminant loading and its impact on sediment quality result in significant economic impacts to the Port of NY and NJ due to increased cost of navigational dredging.

A USACE Reconnaissance Study for the Comprehensive Hudson-Raritan Estuary Project identified the Lower Passaic River as a priority area for remediation (environmental dredging) and restoration. To date, a Project Management Plan (PMP) has been approved for the Investigation and FS that will investigate the Passaic River from the Dundee Dam to the confluence with Newark Bay and the Hackensack River.

The USACE, USEPA and NJDOT/OMR are working together to conduct a single joint FS that will satisfy both Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA) and Water Resource Development Act (WRDA) regulatory requirements.

The FS will identify aquatic ecosystem restoration opportunities and alternatives to revitalize and restore the region. In particular, the FS will evaluate remediation and restoration including: sediment removal, placement of caps, sediment decontamination in-situ or ex-situ, shoreline stabilization, and wetland restoration.

The agencies are also working with the federal and state trustees to integrate natural resource damage assessment processes into the FS. This multi-agency Project Management Plan (PMP) (pdf 289k) partnership and program was first initiated as a result of a 1999 proposal (pdf 949k) prepared by NJDOT/OMR with input from USEPA and USACE.

You will need Adobe Acrobat Reader to view the PDF files which is available at our state Adobe Acrobat Access page.

Significant actions to date include:
  • Preparation of initial restoration proposal, submitted to
    NJDEP, August 25, 1999.
  • USACE conducted Hudson-Raritan Estuary (HRE)
    Restoration Reconnaissance Study identifying Passaic River
    as priority area, finalized July 2001.
  • Energy and Water Development Appropriation Bill 2001
    included lower Passaic River, from Dundee Dam to Newark
    Bay in the HRE Study.
  • PMP for the FS initially drafted June 2001. Final draft,
    approval June 2003.
  • Feasibility Cost Sharing Agreement (FCSA) signed by NJDOT/OMR
    and USACE, June 2, 2003.
  • Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) between USACE, USEPA
    and NJDOT/OMR drafted October 2001.

Palmyra Cove Demonstration Project

NJDOT/OMR is working with the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP), the Burlington County Bridge Commission (BCBC), Burlington County Resource Recovery Complex, Rutgers University and Stevens Institute of Technologies to demonstrate beneficial use applications for dredged material mined from Palmyra Cove Confined Disposal Facility (CDF).

Beneficial use applications may include daily and intermediate landfill cover, landfill stabilization, topsoil, cement, ceramics, lightweight aggregate, grading and fill material, or road base and embankment material. The successful demonstration of beneficial use applications for dredged material may then be applied to navigational dredging programs in the New York/New Jersey Harbor and the Delaware River.

Project goals include:
  • Develop beneficial use applications and technologies for
    dredged material throughout the state of New Jersey.
  • Provide a constant capacity for the management of
    dredged material.
  • Reduce the dependency on other natural resources of the
    state for cover and fill material.
  • Allow the use of other recyclable materials in blended
    applications to advance other sustainable development

A report on the findings of the geotechnical aspects (pdf 547k) of the project as reported by the Center for Advanced Infrastructure and Transportation (CAIT) can downloaded for review.

NJ Toxics Workplan

NJDOT/OMR, in conjunction with the NJ Department of Environmental Protection, has embarked on a comprehensive monitoring program to evaluate and track down sources of toxins in the NY/NJ Harbor.

State of the art sampling apparatus is being used to quantify ultra-low level concentrations of contaminants of concern in surface water and suspended sediments. Sampling of storm water, combined sewer and sewage treatment plant outfalls is also being performed.

Fieldwork and equipment design is being conducted by investigators at Stevens Institute of Technology, Rutgers, and the local field office of the US Geological Survey. The project is being performed under the guidance of the Contaminant Assessment Reduction Program (CARP) a bi-state working group of the USEPA Harbor Estuary Program (HEP).

The data generated from this effort will be used to support a toxics track down plan for the New Jersey portion of the Harbor, and will be combined with data being generated by the New York Department of Environmental Conservation to perform contaminant fate and transport modeling for the entire Harbor complex.

To date, NJDOT/OMR has committed over $9,500,000 in Joint Plan Funds to the $30,000,000 effort.

The following links are to the latest presentations on the New Jersey Toxic Workplan studies. Final reports on these projects are currently being prepared and will be available in the near future.

Final reports and updated summaries are available at the New Jersey DEP website.

Harbor Modeling

NJDOT/OMR has contracted with the nonprofit Hudson River Foundation (HRF) to oversee the development of a state-of-the art contaminant fate and transport/hydrodynamic and sediment transport model for the Harbor complex. Once completed, this will be the most complex, largest model of its type ever constructed.

As the project managers, HRF developed a request for proposals and selected HydroQual of Mahwah to build and validate the model. To assist them with not only with selecting engineers, but also to oversee the work products, the HRF was also tasked with the job of selecting a Model Evaluation Group (MEG) comprised of national experts on hydrodynamic and sediment modeling.

The MEG consists of professionals from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute, University of Connecticut, University of Maryland, Harvard University, Rochester Polytechnic Institute, Najarian Associates and Limnotech.

NJDOT/OMR has committed $3,500,000 from the Joint Plan funds to support this project.  For more information on the CARP and Harbor Modeling efforts, see the CARP website.



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  Last Updated:  September 2, 2008