The Borough created this webpage to inform the public about the redevelopment of the former ceramics plant property. The property is a brownfield that requires environmental investigation and remediation per the laws of the NJ Department of Environmental Protection. Check this webpage regularly as it will be updated when new information is available.
April 2020 Status Update
- In August 2019, the Borough Council approved the redevelopment plan for the site (see link below).
- In December 2019, the Planning Board approved the Country Classics site plan, which includes two apartment buildings, eight duplex buildings, one triplex building, parking, and sidewalks (111 units total) . To see the site plan, visit Borough Hall during business hours.
- Next the Mayor and Borough Council will introduce an ordinance that contains an agreement with Country Classics, the redeveloper of the former ceramics plant property. This redeveloper’s agreement will contain certain requirements, and specify the rights and responsibilities of the redeveloper. At the council meeting where this ordinance is introduced, there will be a public comment period. At the following council meeting, Borough Council will vote on the redeveloper’s agreement, unless substantial changes are made to the redeveloper’s agreement. In that case, the ordinance must instead be re-introduced, with another opportunity for public comment, and then the vote will take place at the next council meeting.
- The Borough encourages residents to attend Council meetings or contact the Mayor or Council members to learn about the redevelopment process, and share questions and concerns.
- Keep an eye on Council Meeting agendas; if the redevelopment project is on the agenda it will be posted here. Regular council meetings are the first Wednesday of each month at 7:30 pm, but occasionally there are additional meetings.
- All public reports and documents pertaining to the site are linked at the bottom of this page.
Did you work or a family member work at the old ceramics plant when it was in operation? As part of the site investigation, Brian Fennelly, the professional in charge of the environmental remediation, will interview community members who have historic knowledge of the property. If you are interested in participating, please contact him at (609) 954-8842.
This 6.84-acre property comprises the industrial area across from Frenchtown Elementary School that has been under construction, or Block 3, Lot 1 and Block 10, Lot 1. This site is considered a brownfield, which means it is a former industrial or commercial site where future use is affected by real or perceived environmental contamination. Brownfield remediation is the removal or sealing off of contaminants so that a site may be used again without health concerns.
A meaningful, inclusive process of community involvement has been proven to be an important factor in the successful redevelopment and reuse of brownfield sites. However, the public involvement requirements under New Jersey’s current laws are minimal. At the request of Borough Council, the Environmental Commission, and residents, the owner has agreed to create more opportunities for public education and engagement during the investigation and remediation to help ensure the success of this project.
History & Contamination
From approximately 1909 to 1995, the site was utilized for the manufacture of ceramic products including spark plugs and electrical components. Contaminants of concern at the site are typical for old industrial sites and include: metals (arsenic, lead, nickel, silver, zinc, beryllium, mercury, cadmium, and barium); volatile organic compounds (benzene, trichloroethylene, cis-1,2-dichloroethene, cis-1,3-dichloropropene); polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), and petroleum hydrocarbons. These contaminants are considered to be carcinogens, or substances capable of causing cancer.
The Remediation Process
The ceramics plant property was purchased in September 2017 by Country Classics at Frenchtown, LLC. Country Classics aims to build residential housing on the site. Due to the contamination, the property must be remediated under the laws of the Licensed Site Remediation Program of the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) to ensure the site is protective of human health and safety and of the environment. Per the laws of the DEP program, Country Classics LLC has retained the services of a Licensed Site Remediation Professional (LSRP), Fennelly Environmental Associates, LLC, to complete the environmental investigation and remediation of the site.
Project Information From Fennelly Environmental Associates:
FEA has completed a Preliminary Assessment Report and Site Investigation activities. Currently, FEA is in the process of preparing a Site Investigation Report (SIR) and a Remedial Investigation Report (RIR). Once all sampling work is complete these reports will be submitted to NJDEP. At that time, FEA will prepare a Remedial Action Work Plan (RAWP) which will describe the proposed actions to address all areas of concern that require remediation at the site pursuant to applicable requirements. The tentative schedule for completing these activities is as follows: SIR – December 2018, RIR – February 2019, and RAWP – April 2019.
During the investigation, a 20,000-gallon, riveted steel underground storage tank (UST) containing heating oil was discovered. Excavation was conducted in August 2018 to ready the UST for removal and there was no visual evidence of any holes or UST damage. During the excavation significant rainfall occurred causing flooding of the excavation pit and seepage of water into the UST, resulting in the displacement of oil from the UST into the excavation pit. Approximately 30 gallons of the oil migrated off-site. FEA notified the NJDEP Environmental Incident Hotline and NJDEP assigned case number 18-08-13-1206-24 to this incident. Country Classics at Frenchtown, LLC retained First Call, an emergency response contractor who conducted cleanup activities under the direction of NJDEP. The UST contents were pumped into a portable tank for disposal and the empty tank was cleaned, removed and disposed. Oil was removed from surface areas and approximately 100 tons of soil were excavated and properly disposed. Post-removal monitoring was conducted and NJDEP authorized the removal of all booms and other emergency response equipment. FEA will collect sediment samples from the drainage channel where oil collected to confirm that all impacts from the oil release event have been remediated.
Public Notice To Date
Under the LSRP law, the site must include a public notice sign that is easily visible to the public. The sign was initially located on a gate down the driveway off Harrison Street. Per the Borough’s request, the owner had the sign moved to the chain link fence along Lower 8th Street.
The oil spill triggered a public notice requirement under the LSRP law. The LSRP notified residents within 200 feet via a letter, of the oil spill and its cleanup, and provided additional information regarding the site and the overall remediation project. Notice was also provided to local newspaper and the Borough clerk.
Links to Documents
- Summary of Environmental Investigation Activities from Fennelly Environmental Associates
- Notification of Environmental Investigation and Cleanup
- Notice of Environmental Investigation and Cleanup Former Frenchtown Ceramics Company Site
- Receptor Evaluation Report
- Preliminary Assessment Report
- Site Investigation Report
- DRAFT Redevelopment Plan
- Summary of Deed Notice & Financial Assurance
- Flood Hazard Area Individual Permit
- September 27, 2019 Memorandum
- Country Classics Frenchtown HASP
- PILOT Presentation – Country Classics – Final 2-29-20
- 200226dag Frequently Asked Affordable Housing Questions
- Country Classics Special Meeting Briefing for 2-29-20
For additional information, please contact Country Classics at Frenchtown, LLC at (908) 359-3276 or Fennelly Environmental Associates at (609) 954-8842.