Judge: Company not harming environment in Gloucester County

A federal judge in New Jersey has ruled against an environmental group and its claim that a soil-recycling company was endangering the environment at three Gloucester County sites, including two parks.

U.S. District Judge Renee Marie Bumb wrote in a June 30 opinion that the Delaware Riverkeeper Network had failed to prove its case against Maryland-based Soil Safe Inc., which has provided recycled petroleum-contaminated soil in Logan Township at Gloucester County Park, Logan Equine Park, and a property that is home to the Logan Recycling Center.

“Plaintiffs have not established that Soil Safe’s product is a solid waste or that it may present an imminent and substantial harm to the environment,” Bumb wrote in her 80-page opinion.

The locations were used from the early 1950s through the 1980s by the Army Corps of Engineers as a dumping ground for material dredged from the Delaware River.

More than 300,000 tons of Soil Safe product was used at the 71-acre Logan Equine Park at 400 Route 130 S. as part of a remediation that was completed in 2008. The Logan Equine Park is part of the Gloucester County Improvement Authority’s DREAM Park.

Soil Safe product was used at  Gloucester County Park as part of a state-approved remediation.

Remediation at the Birch Creek site, where the Logan Recycling Center is located and operated by Soil Safe, is about 80 percent complete.

The Delaware Riverkeeper Network, a nonprofit with about 20,000 members, sued Soil Safe in 2014, alleging the company was violating its recycling permit and creating a public-health risk.

Following a four-day bench trial in March and filing of legal briefs, the judge decided in favor of Soil Safe.

In her opinion, Bumb said she was “firmly convinced” that Soil Safe’s process was “textbook” recycling of materials.

Mark Smith, president of Soil Safe, said in a statement: “We are pleased with the court’s decision that Soil Safe is in compliance with all environmental rules and regulations regarding its recycling and remediation process.”

Maya K. van Rossum, the Delaware Riverkeeper, said Thursday evening that the decision was disappointing. A decision to appeal was still under review, she said.