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Blue Laws violated again by Toll Brothers in Bergen County

Pictured: Goose laying eggs on Palm Sunday in the middle of USR pond filled over the weekend by Toll Brothers with heavy construction mud.

by Derek Michalski

Upper Saddle River NJ, Blue Laws violated again by Toll Brothers in Bergen County. Why Toll Brother have no respect for our environment is obviously clear to anyone who followed the story of Apple Ridge a/k/a Preserve? But why Toll Brothers brakes social norm, respect for our believes and our religion is beyond comprehension. Perhaps if Satanism was allowed on the premises of Toll Brothers Bergen Sheriff and Jim Tedesco would act but because Blue Laws are broken almost every other Sunday nobody gives a damn…………..very sad state of Bergen County we are entering, very sad indeed.

Continue reading Blue Laws violated again by Toll Brothers in Bergen County
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Wednesdays Strong Winds Whips Up Dust Storm At Apple Ridge

by Derek Michalski

Upper Saddle River NJ, Strong winds in Upper Saddle River and lack of dust control by Toll Brothers created another environmental violation: dust pollution. Plume of dust covered on Wednesday April 3, 2019 neighboring homes in the vicinity of Apple Ridge former golf course a/k/a “Preserve”. USRPD Police officer Hausch witnessed with me gusts of wind blowing construction dust into my car, his car and all over the neighborhood. At the scene I run also into USR Borough Director James Dougherty who stated that he was only the “middle man” and it wasn’t up to him but up to Boswell to supervise the situation. When I asked him why there were no dust control trucks on this 100 plus acres of desert (btw required by law) he just said “have a nice day” and left the construction scene.

Continue reading Wednesdays Strong Winds Whips Up Dust Storm At Apple Ridge
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The First Lady of NJ Should Spend Less Time on Social Media and More Time Focusing on Local Environment Catastrophes

the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Upper Saddle River NJ, New Jersey First Lady Tammy Murphy and the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection are launching #GoGreenNJ, a social media campaign to promote simple tips that New Jerseyans can do at home to help protect the environment and reduce the impacts of climate change.

With a combined 120,000 followers on Twitter and Facebook between the First Lady and the DEP, the campaign’s messages are likely to go a long way in encouraging New Jerseyans to think differently about environmental protection.

Perhaps if you really want to clean up New Jersey you can start here in Bergen County , for over a year we have covered the story of the devastating impact of the run off from the Toll Brothers site at Apple Ridge. To date nothing as been done to protect the environment of Bergen County , not one politician or DEP official has lifted a hand . So for the talk from the Murphy Administration on “Green” New Jersey, it is nothing but talk and a ruse for tax increases.

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“Rain Tax” ,how about going after wrongdoers ?

photo by Derek Michalski

the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Derek Michalski of GreenUSR : Here is my official statement to the press after yesterday’s visit from reporters from NJ media and Sierra Club Director Jeff Tittel. Thank you Jeff for driving all the way from South Jersey to see how stormwater carnage looks in real life. Now it’s time for Governor Murphy to take a drive to Saddle River Valley and see for himself how irrational is the idea of imposing “Rain Tax” a/k/a “Storm Water Pollution Tax” on ALL of commercial property owners instead going after wrongdoers like Toll Brothers that let construction mud allegedly containing lead and arsenic directly into public storm drains and my Pleasant Brook (main feature of GreenUSR). In addition Assemblywoman Lisa Swain, Holly Schepisi and County Executive Jim Tedesco have been shown the evidence below dozens of times so I don’t think there is a person left in New Jersey who haven’t see how Toll Brothers dewaters its construction sites.

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Toll Brothers Runoff Alleged to Have Contaminated Drinking Water in Saddle River Valley

the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Upper Saddle River NJ, PLEASANT BROOK made the news again today. Scott Fallon from The Record published photo of Pleasant Brook taken by GreenUSR community volunteer Derek Michalski. Pleasant Brook is under constant assault by giant construction company Toll Brothers that decided to dewater 100 plus acres of construction desert in the middle of the town by pumping dirty muddy water called “colloidal clay” directly into the brook that divides 19 Meadowbrook Rd and 1 Lake Street in Upper Saddle River. These two mega construction projects are being developed by Toll Brothers. Between those two sites 150 acres of land will be dewater over the course of next 2-5 years. According to renowned environmental lawyer and ground water pollution expert from Boston, Matt Pawa who visited the area last month approximately 200 families in the corridor of Pleasant Brook are at potential health risk.

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photo by Derek Michalski

the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Upper saddle River NJ, its 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.”

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DEP’s Proposed Water Rule Means More Dirty Water

photo at Apple Ridge by Derek Michalski

the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Upper Saddle River NJ, The Department of Environmental Protection NJ Department of Environmental Protection is proposing amendments, repeals, and new rules to the Stormwater Management rules, N.J.A.C. 7:8. This is the first rule under the DEP have proposed under the Murphy Administration.  A public hearing on the proposal is today, Tuesday January 8, 2019 at 1:00 pm at the Department of Environmental Protection. Jeff Tittel, Director of the New Jersey Sierra Club released the following statement:

“DEP’s proposed rule fails to adequately protect New Jersey from flooding and non-point pollution. These rules are a step backwards, they do not deal with climate change, more frequent flooding, combined sewer overflows, and would make it easier to build pipelines. It allows for green infrastructure however it says to the maximum extension practice which is a loophole big enough to fit a bulldozer through.  The biggest problem with this rule is that it continues Christie’s rollbacks on wetlands, flood hazard, and stormwater.

“The rule calls for green infrastructure but keeps the current standards in place that do not work. It also does not effectively monitor the green infrastructure. The rules exempt existing development, they do not require retrofitting of stormwater retention and detention basin systems. It does not require enough recharge or to break up impervious cover to absorb more water. Instead, we should be treating stormwater through natural filtration into sub soils followed by vegetation. The proposed rule does not restore the 300-foot buffers, SWARPA, or calls for revegetating stream buffers or riparian corridors as a way of dealing with non-point pollution.

“DEP’s stormwater rule is seriously flawed and does not change the basic standard. The rule treats impervious cover with automobiles different with other types of impervious cover, which we believe is wrong. It does not deal with compacted soils which in parts of New Jersey are like of impervious cover. The rule also does not include any bonding required for infrastructure in case the system fails, it also does not require maintenance or monitoring.

“The model is based on dealing 100-year storm events that we are having every year. The 100-yr storm model does not work because of climate change and frequency of intense storms, we are also getting a lot more rain. Modelers are looking at 250 year and 500 year storms.  This means if you leave along the Passaic or the Raritan River, you’re going to need snorkels. Instead of moving us forward it keeps the status quo.

“Existing development is exempted from the stormwater rule, which is already the largest source of non-pollution in our state. This means a box store being built on a former shopping center or a high rise in New Brunswick will be exempted. Roofs and sidewalks are also not included under the rules, even though they contribute to extra pollution.

“Combined sewer overflow is a major problem in New Jersey, but the rule does not really address it.  CSOs are a health hazard, especially when concerned with sea level rise. The rule does not require any restrictions on holding back on water on ground or near properties. It also has no language that would clean up nitrogen and phosphorous in our water. Dilapidated storm water systems exacerbate the problem by increasing the water in combined sewers and we need funding to reduce the amount of water in sewers during major storm events. Only 5% of streams in New Jersey meet standards for being fishable, swimmable, and drinkable, mostly because of non-point solution. 65% of our streams are impacted by phosphorus. We have to retrofit urban areas for stormwater management. Things like green roofs, wet gardens can help and prevent combined sewer overflow however these methods are exempted because the rule exempts redevelopment.

“These rules do not reverse Christie’s rollbacks on stormwater, buffers, or wetlands. They still give preference for engineered controls like basins and outfall structures that can cause more erosion. DEP’s new Stormwater Management rule does not replace the nonstructural point system and requires most of BMP. Most of BMPs only work 50% of the time in ultimate situations. They do not work in areas with steep slopes or high groundwater. The rules do not deal with total suspended solids and do not have nutrient limits for nitrogen or phosphorus. They need to have those requirements in order to do TMDL.

“Non- point pollution is the biggest source of water pollution in New Jersey. This rule does not change the basic standard of the amount of water that can be adsorbed into the ground or cleanup of non-point pollution. It still has the same standards that do not work in New Jersey in the last 40 years. That is our largest source of pollution mostly because of runoff. We are seeing Barnegat Bay dying because of non point pollution and runoff. Dissolved oxygen levels are dropping due to high levels of nutrients from stormwater, resulting in algae blooms. We have to address the stormwater management and nonpoint source pollution issues in the Bay otherwise we are going to turn the Barnegat Bay into the state’s largest stormwater detention basin as the Bay continues to die.

“DEP is just taking the broken current system and adding some green amendments. This is really green cover for a rule that will cause more flooding and water pollution. The rule has a few positives but overall does nothing to change the status quo of pointless non-pollution.  It also does not deal or address storm impacts from pipelines or industrial compressor stations. The biggest source of pollution we face is nonpoint pollution and we need to retrofit our stormwater basins to protect our waterways, while revitalizing our waterfront neighborhoods and communities. DEP’s first rule is still a Christie rule that also has nothing to do with climate change, sea level rise, and will add just add more flooding. This rule just create more pointless non-point pollution,” said Jeff Tittel, Director of the New Jersey Sierra Club.

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FBI indicates Interest in potential Clean Water Act Violations and Possible Cover Up at Apple Ridge in Mahwah

the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Upper Saddle River NJ, according to Derek Michalski the moderator of the Facebook group  GreenUSR,  “After proposing on this site an Environmental Debate between incumbent Josh Gottheimer and his opponent John McCann reporter from CBS News called and interviewed me for the story. When I announced this on October 13, 2018 I immediately noticed that mud is no longer being pumped into Pleasant Brook/Saddle River. Today I spoke to the same reporter and she confirmed that she has also reached out to NJDEP and NJ Department of Agriculture for comments. Immediately after she spoke to them Roy Otto from Bergen County Soil Conservation Department called me. When I asked him what sparked his sudden interest in our situation after 10 months of NOT RETUTNING ANY CALLS he said “let’s not talk about what caused me to call you””.

Continue reading FBI indicates Interest in potential Clean Water Act Violations and Possible Cover Up at Apple Ridge in Mahwah

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Second Protest Planned at Apple Ridge

Dear Mahwah, Ramsey and USR Residents and Friends,

It is time to organize our second protest against Toll Brothers at Apple Ridge. Following our first great protest this one promises to be even better!

Come and make your voices heard and protest the environmental damage that Toll Brothers are causing to our local environment and water. Bring family, friends and neighbors and support our community. Make some new friends, meet some old ones. Can’t stay for long, a short visit is great too! Short on time, drive by and honk your support!

Saturday July 21 12-4 pm.
269 E. Crescent Ave. Mahwah (on the Mahwah side of Apple Ridge)

Street parking is available, drinks and refreshments too!!

Bring signs, or your voice, wearing green is suggested and optional!

Hope to see you there!

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Protesters Converge on Toll Brothers’ Open House in Mahwah at Apple Ridge construction site

photos by Derek Michalski

June 25,2018

the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Mahwah NJ, Heavy police presence during Toll Brothers’ Open House in Mahwah at Apple Ridge construction site over the weekend.

Probably never in the history of these three Bergen County towns Mahwah, Ramsey and Upper Saddle River residents who live along East Crescent Road heard so many drivers honking their horns. On June 24, 2018 Saturday afternoon over the course of four hours hundreds of drivers drove by and honked their horns sometimes 3, 4 and even 5 and more times in solidarity with the protesters who were all lined up along the road on East Crescent Avenue in Mahwah. The protest was aimed at Toll Brothers accused by some residents of Ramsey, Mahwah and Upper Saddle River of massive pollution of Pleasant Brook over the course of the past six months. The subject of this pollution was extensively covered by local and regional media. First CBS did a story which aired on April 23, 2018 on CBS NY News, than FIOS NJ one run all day reports from the site on. Also owned by USA Today media concern NJ Bergen Record wrote extensively in an article titled “Residents want backyard stream tested for arsenic, lead because of construction runoff”.

Link to CBS story:

Link to FIOS NJ One coverage:

Link “The Record” story:

Apparently this matter is not going away anytime soon said Derek Michalski, one of the community organizers of the protest. We are still waiting for our Mayor and Council to show us the results of the water tests and for the assurance that appropriate Superfund is being set up to provide for the cleanup of potential contamination of Pleasant Brook as well as drinking water wells in the corridor of Pleasant Brook. Many residents of bucolic once Upper Saddle River still rely of private wells as a source of their drinking water. Many USR residents scared of potential toxic and carcinogenic contaminants being arsenic and lead allegedly intentionally released into our streams and aquifer by Toll Brothers over the course of the past six months are switching from private wells into the city water but the issue is not should they switch or not.

The issue in my opinion is the following- why environmental disaster caused by cutting corners by one of the largest developer in the country makes our residents’ life more difficult and more expensive as a consequence – said Derek Michalski.

photo above Derek Michalski and Lisa Glick

Mahwah PD cars parked in the “Arsenic Field” at the Toll Brothers construction site – a name coined by volunteers after CBS run a news story on April 23, 2018.