photo by Derek Michalski
the staff of the Ridgewood blog
Upper saddle River NJ, for month sit been claimed that Toll Brothers has committed an unprecedented environmental disaster at Apple Ridge (The Preserve at USR & Mahwah) impacting the entire Saddle River Valley with irreversible ecological damage
According to a report just issued , “The Toxicological Impact of the Toll Brothers’ Apple Ridge Development to the Saddle River Valley Ecosystem and Its Residents” claims runoff from “the 110-acre site formerly known as the Apple Ridge Country Club. The name Apple Ridge harkens back to the land’s origins at the turn of the 20th century as an apple orchard owned by the Carlough family. The tract of land mostly lies within the borders USR and Mahwah with a smaller portion of land extending into Ramsey. In 2013, this magnificent property was sold by the Carlough family to a developer with the intent of building high-density housing. When the boroughs of USR and Mahwah balked at the idea of allowing high-density housing the property was sold to Toll Brothers for the development of 78 single family homes.”
“The soil on which former apple orchards existed around the country are notorious for containing high levels of arsenic and lead—levels well above the maximum contaminant levels (MCL) for soil set by each state. These toxic by-products are leftover from the days before dichloro-diphenyl-trichloroethane (DDT) and before organophosphates, when arsenical pesticides, also known as historically applied pesticides (HAP), in particular lead arsenate (LA), were the preferred treatment in the prevention of insect damage. As former orchard 8 properties are developed for residential use, residual arsenic contamination poses a signiﬁcant threat to human health”
Recent tests have revealed that over 24 pounds of pure arsenic–a “group A1” carcinogen–have been released as airborne dust and into our pristine waterways.
The report concluded , “this runoﬀ of approximately 14.7 million gallons per month also contains other heavy metals such as lead, dangerous elements such as nitrogen and phosphorous, and chemicals like DDT that haven’t even been tested for. In all, we are witnessing the destruction of an invaluable and irreplaceable ecosystem.”