From around 1900 into the 1960s, Jersey City, New Jersey, was the center for chromite ore processing. One of the manufacturing by-products is chrome ore processing residue (COPR) which was used as fill throughout Jersey City. The COPR component hexavalent chromium Cr(VI) causes adverse health effects in humans—especially when inhaled.
A general COPR removal project through Jersey City has been ongoing since the 1980s. Remediation workers wear protective clothing and air filtration equipment—but local communities have needed other protection types. Jersey City is densely populated, and most remediation sites directly abut roadways, retail areas, or residential properties.
The excavation and removal of millions of tons of contaminated soil from multiple sites required avoiding exposing any city neighborhood to potential airborne contaminants. This made it challenging—but totally necessary—to ensure none of the site activities raised and spread dust beyond their perimeters. To provide a solution, the two major companies overseeing the cleanup contracted with Triumvirate Environmental.
We deployed real-time dust monitoring stations (components of the Greenlight™ Environmental Monitoring System) just within the sites’ perimeters. The fully integrated Greenlight™ System can issue various alerts and alarms (based on preset thresholds) to notify site personnel of potential events. Looking to expand the dust analysis capabilities, our team embedded weather stations at each site to integrate the wind direction and speed data with the contamination level measurements.
Based on the concentrations of soil contaminants, our team calculated that the detection of dust and smoke particles of PM2.5 and PM10 diameters should trigger the implementation of engineering controls at the site. These controls include: applying water or foam to the excavation area; hosing down trucks prior to leaving the sites; or, in extreme cases, discontinuing operations until there is a favorable change to the weather.
Depending on weather or the particular ongoing work type, we also regularly positioned the mobile stations closer to any given site’s remediation activity. And, a full-time air monitoring technician was tasked with observing any violations of acceptable air levels, documenting them, and determining any off-site sources.
Our expertise with these project types enabled us to complete the monitoring of 50 hexavalent chromium sites in Jersey City. The various site projects ranged in duration from weeks to years.