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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.

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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.

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Toll Brothers Caught Red Handed Committing another Stormwater Runoff Violation !

By Derek Michalski

Upper Saddle River NJ, Toll Brothers and it’s apologists exposed in this shocking 5 minutes interview with Jeff Tittel – NJ Sierra Club Director. Jeff Tittel was investigating stormwater pollution violations companies like Toll Brothers had been committing in the state of New Jersey for over two decades. Last Friday he caught Toll Brothers red handed committing another stormwater violation live! Will Congressman Josh Gottheimer put stop to this environmental tragedy? Time will tell. His district Catherine Best contacted me and requested additional documentation which I provided.

Continue reading Toll Brothers Caught Red Handed Committing another Stormwater Runoff Violation !
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Last Plea to Stem Apple Ridge Stormwater Pollution

Derek Michalski GreenUSR,  Founder and Volunteer – (Upper & Saddle River, Ramapo and Pascack Valley Communities)

Upper Saddle River NJ, This will be my last public plea to you Honorable Ladies: Mayor Joanne Minichetti, Assemblywoman Holly Schepisi and Assemblywoman Lisa Swain on the subject of Pleasant Brook stormwater pollution.

Considering the perpetual environmental devastation that besets our community, please do the right thing and order Toll Brothers to honor the EPA settlement that Toll Brothers signed back in 2012. Since you and only you have the power to issue a Stop Work Order concerning construction at this work site to arrest further release of environmental toxins, please do so in order to prevent Toll Brothers from violating stormwater regulations.  Assemblywoman Holly Schepisi has been receiving extensive documentation over the course of the past year regarding this environmental condition and, this adverse environmental condition will go unabated if this Stop Work Order is not honored.  

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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.

Continue reading Toll Brothers Runoff Alleged to Have Contaminated Drinking Water in Saddle River Valley
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Reader says ,”easier to talk about grandiose ideas like saving oceans, planet earth, etc”

“Unfortunately it’s much easier to talk about grandiose ideas like saving oceans, planet earth, etc. But when it comes to local issues most people are paralyzed from fear and don’t want to get involved or/and offend their local (and friendly) politicians who they see on daily basis. Other aspect of it is apathy and ignorance. But arsenic and lead in our drinking water is not something we should take lightly. Town-wide well water testing should follow in my humble opinion. If Suez can pay for lead testing I am sure Toll Brothers can afford arsenic testing as well. Between 19 Meadowbrook Road and 1 Lake Street projects (both include Pleasant Brook) Toll Brothers will gross close to half a billion of dollars in gross real estate sales if not more. There should be provisions for water testing in such enormous construction projects in the middle of small town that relied on well water for decades. Why destroy something others had been preserving for us generations? When I moved to Upper Saddle River in 2006 they called it “bucolic community” and now we have over 150 acres of pure desert in the middle of the town. Very sad what’s becoming of this lovely community.”

https://qz.com/1105035/2-million-americans-are-drinking-high-levels-of-arsenic-in-their-well-water/

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Public Health Concerns Continue to be Raised Over Arsenic Runoff From Toll Brothers Site in Mahwah, Upper Saddle River and Saddle River

Derek Michalski of GREENUSR  and the Staff of the Ridgewood blog 

Mahwah NJ, Mahwah Environmental Commission and its members were apprised over the weekend by Derek Michalski of the situation in USR and ongoing concerns regarding alleged arsenic and lead pollution. Also they were provided with new aerial surveillance video documenting that Toll Brothers is using underground and above ground pumps to dewater “colloidal clay” directly into Pleasant Brook. After full year of Stop Work Order one might think the situation would get better not worse. However USR aquifer is still being destroyed in front of our eyes and the NJ residents who live along the path of the Pleasant Brook are clearly at risk. According to a local physician “the unfortunate reality is that we won’t see real evidence of arsenic issues for 20 years. The time is now to insure the health of those at risk. If this is not done, it is truly a failure of government to perform its primary role in society”.

Continue reading Public Health Concerns Continue to be Raised Over Arsenic Runoff From Toll Brothers Site in Mahwah, Upper Saddle River and Saddle River
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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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DEP First Clean Water Rule Doesn’t Make Our Water Cleaner

photo courtesy of 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 will be Tuesday January 8, 2019 at 1:00 pm at the Department of Environmental Protection

“New Jersey has serious problems with flooding and water quality from runoff. DEP’s new rule is a step backwards and not forward when it comes to dealing with stormwater. It does not deal with climate change, flooding, combined sewer overflows, and would make it easier to build pipelines. The new the rule has too many exemptions and furthers Christie’s rollbacks on protections to our waterways. It allows for green infrastructure which is good however it says to the maximum extension practice which is a loophole big enough to fit a bulldozer through,” said Jeff Tittel, Director of the New Jersey Sierra Club. “We have waited almost a year for a new Murphy DEP rule to be proposed. The rule is not only a disappointment, but we have to actually oppose it. This rule was worked by the Christie Administration and proposed by Murphy Administration went forward with this anyway.”

The DEP is proposing to replace the current requirement that major developments incorporate nonstructural stormwater management strategies to the “maximum extent practicable” to meet groundwater recharge standards, stormwater runoff quantity standards, and stormwater runoff quality standards, with a requirement that green infrastructure be utilized to meet these same standards.

“The rule has major flaws in it. The model is based on dealing 100-year storm events that we are having every year. It doesn’t really change the flood system. The rule does not look at climate change or the frequency and intensity of storms. This means if you leave along the Passaic or the Raritan River, your going to need snorkels.  Instead of moving us forward it keeps the status quo. It exempts existing development which is already the largest source of non-pollution in our state. Which 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,” said Tittel.  

The NJDEP looks to incorporate green infrastructure to be utilized to meet the same standards groundwater recharge standards, stormwater runoff quantity standards, and stormwater runoff quality standards.

“The rule calls for green infrastructure but keeps the current standards that do not work. It also keeps in place Christie’s rollbacks of the 300 foot buffers, SWARPA, revegetating stream buffers or riparian corridors as a way of dealing with non-point pollution. The amended stormwater rules does nothing to retrofit our stormwater retention and detention basin systems that don’t work that break up impervious cover to absorb more water. This rule is a continuation of Christie’s rollbacks on wetlands, flood hazard, and stormwater that does not protect stream buffers or C1 streams,” said Tittel.  DEP’s proposal for green infrastructure in the new rule is with just an added green veneer.”

New Jersey need at least $14 billion just to fix our combined sewer overflow systems, but overall we need more than $45 billion to fix our water and sewage infrastructure. We’ve been kicking the can down the road for so long that now the road is underwater and the can is clogging a storm drain. 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.

“The rule does not really deal with address combined sewer overflow. 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, swimable, and drinkable, mostly because of non-point solution. 65% of our streams are impacted by phosphorus,” said Tittel. “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.”

Over ten percent of the land in New Jersey is impervious surface, making us prone to flooding and pollution problems. The Christie Administration has weakened our coastal areas to more flooding and pollution. Their Flood Hazard rules add more development to environmentally sensitive areas, getting rid of stream buffers, and eliminating protections for headwaters. Then in a one-two punch for water quality, the Administration increased sewer hook-ups in the Water Quality Management Planning rules, which will have a major impact to open space and nearby reservoirs and streams throughout the state. This will especially impact the most environmentally sensitive areas of the Highlands and Pinelands that contain the water supply for millions of people.

“This stormwater rule codifies and will further Christie’s rollbacks. DEP still have not reversed rollbacks on the wetlands and stormwater rules from the Christie Administration but still allows for outfall structure called scours, causing 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 green infrastructure standards also only deal with total suspended solids, not other pollutants that come off of stormwater runoff like nitrogen or phosphorous,” said Tittel.

The Barnegat Bay is turning into New Jersey’s largest stormwater detention basin and its whole ecology is changing. DEP must control development and sprawl near the bay and prevent massive projects like development in Lakewood that will add more pollution to the Bay.

“This rule does not change the basic standard of the amount of water that can be adsorbed into the ground or clean up of non-point pollution. It still has the same standards that do not work in New Jersey in the last 40 years. New Jersey has serious water problems because of non point pollution. 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,” said Tittel.  “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.”

An important way to improve our stormwater management is to reverse Christie’s rollbacks and put in place stronger protections. The DEP have to address the stormwater management and nonpoint source pollution issues.

“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,” said Jeff Tittel, Director of the New Jersey Sierra Club. “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.”

A public hearing on the proposal will be Tuesday January 8, 2019 at 1:00 pm at the Department of Environmental Protection, 1st floor Public Hearing Room, 401 East State Street Trenton, NJ 08625

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Apple Ridge Environmental Tragedy Continues

the staff of the Ridgewood blog 

Upper Saddle River NJ, Derek Michalski reports again on the runoff from the Toll Brother site at Apple Ridge, “Dark and Stormy in USR today on this gloomy Friday December 28, 2018. We are experiencing heavy rain and another storm water violation on the part of Toll Brothers in Upper Saddle River. This time laden with arsenic and lead mud (sorry “colloidal clay” as NJDEP wants us to call this 12th month long pollution) is allowed to being discharged directly into our public drains. And not even one Toll Brothers employee or USR town zoning officer on the site paying attention to lack of silt barriers and even the cheepest hay barriers. Truly pathetic how this site is being overseen.

Continue reading Apple Ridge Environmental Tragedy Continues