NEW JERSEY (FOX5NY.COM) - Five days a week, Barry Blake of Edgewater, New Jersey, exercises right next to an excavation site, which concerns him. He said he smells an oily scent when he passes it.
A number of residents near the Quanta Superfund site off River Road have reported smelling noxious fumes for quite some time.
For more than a century, a roofing tar plant operated at the site. Chemicals seeped into the ground and the work has exposed harmful toxins like naphthalene, a compound found in mothballs, cigarette smoke, and vehicle emissions. It can cause headaches, dizziness, nausea, kidney damage, or even cancer.
This is precisely the reason Juan Duval lost his workout partner. He told Fox 5 that she quit the gym, which is right next to the site.
The EPA received a number of complaints last week about the odor.
"This was largely due to a combination of factors. The work at the site in the past few days involved invasive cutting into highly contaminated areas near bulkheads," the EPA said in a statement to Fox 5. "This work, which unavoidably exposes highly contaminated soil. The EPA is continuing to aggressively manage work at the site and explore ways to lower emissions of naphthalene to the extent possible."
The agency is also regularly checking air quality levels near the site, which have not reached any hazardous levels. This was corroborated by the mayor's office.
The EPA will have two public sessions on this issue on May 22. Residents with concerns are encouraged to attend.