UPDATED: Section of Overpeck County Park Closes For Environmental Study
Other areas of the park not impacted.
A section of Overpeck Park, known as Area IV, is closed while the county looks to conduct a study that will likely result in a cleanup of the site, officials said.
As reported by Patch last week, county officials ordered Leonia Councilman Gil Hawkins to stop using Area IV as a nature preserve. In a letter sent to Hawkins, a county attorney said he had conducted unauthorized activities on the land, which the county maintains is an "unclosed landfill."
Hawkins said he had the proper documentation to use the land and obtained a grant from the state DEP.
Overpeck’s Area IV was on the state DEP’s list of contaminated sites, but in 2009 it was removed when the county said it would remediate the land, according to Jeanne Baratta, chief of staff for Bergen County Executive Kathleen Donovan.
The remediation never happened and officials believe the land remains contaminated.
“What you’ve got now is a lot of garbage coming out of the ground and possibly some methane gas,” Baratta said.
The county is looking for an environmental firm to examine the 30-acre site and has also notified the state DEP, Baratta said.
While there is no exact timeline for the study, Baratta said it was a priority for the administration.
“We want to get this done as soon as possible,” she said.
The move also forced the Teaneck Rowing Club to stop using Area IV. The club was using Overpeck Lake until the Andreas Park boathouse is completed in the fall.
Other areas of the park will remain open.