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Redevelopment of Brownfields

As an important component of the brownfields and urban renewal initiative in the New Jersey–New York (USA) metropolitan area, redevelopment of landfill sites and contaminated/abandoned properties for recreational, commercial, and residential purposes seems increasingly acceptable.


Decreasing availability of developable ‘‘greenfields’’ and growing public concern about urban sprawl are forcing developers to look at these alternative sites. In the State of New Jersey, the Highlands Water Protection and Planning Act virtually bans major development in the 395,000 acres that constitute the core of the northern Highlands region and encourages smart growth in an additional 363,000 acres outside the core. The stated purpose of the Act is to protect the quality of the state’s water supply and preserve open space, but predictably, developers view it as an attempt to choke development. Incidentally, as the Highlands protection bill was nearing passage in the legislature, a golf course was opened at the former site of an abandoned and contaminated quarry in Morris County in northern New Jersey.


Excessive landfill gas emissions can adversely affect public health and well-being. The emissions of concern from most municipal solid waste landfills are mainly methane and nonmethane organic compounds (NMOCs). Asbestos removal new jersey was also done.Methane is not toxic if inhaled but can pose fire and explosion hazards when allowed to accumulate. Also, methane is an asphyxiant and, as a greenhouse gas along with carbon dioxide, contributes to global warming. NMOCs include volatile organic compounds (VOCs), hazardous air pollutants (HAPs), and odorous compounds (e.g., hydrogen sulfide). Certain VOCs and HAPs can cause carcinogenic and noncarcinogenic adverse health effects. VOC emissions also contribute to ozone formation and inhalation of ozone can cause respiratory problems. Landfills subject to the NSPS and EG that have a design waste capacity greater than 2.5 million Mg and NMOC emissions exceeding 50 Mg/y are required to install gas control. The NSPS and EG rules do not apply to municipal solid waste landfills that were closed before 8 November 1987. However, most landfills have passive landfill gas collection systems that convey generated landfill gas under barometric pressure gradient to emission stacks from which it is vented to the atmosphere. Active gas collection systems provide a pressure gradient to extract the landfill gas by use of mechanical blowers or compressors.


A properly designed landfill cap or cover system forms a barrier between buried waste and the surface, thereby protecting humans and the environment from exposure to the waste. Also, the landfill leachate collection and control system, which is usually an integral component of a landfill redevelopment project, prevents human contact with the leachate and ensures that leachate is not released into the surrounding environment. However, even when a landfill has been closed, emissions of landfill gas can last for decades, until all nutrients are depleted and both aerobic and anaerobic bacterial activities are negligible (USEPA 2001). Due diligence demands that the potential health effects of inhalation of residual landfill gas emissions be evaluated before landfill redevelopment for residential, commercial, or recreational purposes. Unacceptably high health risks are reviewed by brownfield redevelopment new jersey companies and would call for risk management actions such as eliminating residential units (thereby reducing exposure time and essentially eliminating children from the at-risk population) or introducing stringent gas control measures (e.g. active gas venting, high-roof stacks, high-efficiency air filtration systems, etc.).