By: Senator Anthony R. Bucco & Assemblyman Michael Carroll

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAsthma attacks, breathing masks, evacuation plans.

It sounds like the lead up to an apocalyptic novel.

Unfortunately, this is not fiction. In Roxbury Township, Morris County, a site known as the “Fenimore Landfill” has been emanating noxious hydrogen sulfide fumes for the past 8 months, giving both adults and children asthma attacks and headaches, and ruining the quality of life that many of us take for granted.

This health and safety concern in our district began when the landfill was reopened in 2011 by a private developer to cap it and turn it into a solar farm. Problems became apparent shortly after the reopening because of the activity at the site. The most critical issue to us has been the strong odor residents have been suffering with because of the hydrogen sulfide emissions emanating from the landfill since last October. Recent readings of the noxious fumes in the area are above safe levels and can cause serious health effects. Residents living in the area around the landfill are suffering from asthma attacks along with other compounding health issues. As a result of all this, the township has set up an evacuation plan for those living in this area.

Legislation we both sponsored, S-2861/A-4238, which allowed for the proper closure of the landfill, passed both the Senate and Assembly this week as a culmination of efforts to resolve this issue. Governor Christie signed this measure into law. This morning, the state Department of Environmental Protection assumed control of the Fenimore Landfill to cover the site, and the agency will recoup cleanup costs from landfill owner Strategic Environmental Partners. It was imperative to us that this bill move through the Legislature by the end of June before summer break. We introduced this legislation because the people of Roxbury could not wait any longer for this problem to be abated. We thank Senate and Assembly leadership for advancing this measure, and we thank Governor Christie for signing it into law.

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