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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.

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

  1. I was under the impression that the arsenic & lead found is because of apple growing – not because Toll Brothers decided to dump some toxins there. Lead arsenate was used by apple farmers to control pests until the advent of DDT in the 40’s. In some places, the hazard still remains however the NJDEP is very stringent in their clean-up and remediation that construction could not begin without exhaustive testing. This is not to mention that the old orchard was cleared in the mid-60’s for the country club, hence, there has been no farming on the site for nearly 50 years.

  2. Alleged pollution. How do we know the properties downstream weren’t already polluted from the former golf course or other sources? Where is your base line data?

  3. My baseline data is “facebook told me so…”

  4. The contamination was there from years of pesticides from the old golf course. The best remediation is to remove the top 2 feet of soil that was deemed contaminated. Took brothers imported clean soil and mixed it with the okd soil to lower the levels of arsenic to legal levels. Not the best idea. The reason Toll Brothers is in trouble I sbecause of the pumping out of their small retention ponds and polluting our waterways. There is video evidence of this online. There will be a massive lawsuit in the near future.

  5. Toll Brother new exactly that town leaders will be quiet…….why? Only the one who need to know know why…….” over 600 stormwater violations that were discovered through site inspections and by reviewing documentation submitted by Toll Brothers. The majority of the alleged violations involve Toll Brothers’ repeated failures to comply with permit requirements at its construction sites, including requirements to install and maintain adequate stormwater pollution controls.”

  6. The water is perfect in USR.. the man in question is a constant problem and seeks lots of attention.. he still lets that dog he watches swim in said polluted water… Fake news.

  7. Besides the loss of property values associated with contaminated surface and well water most important risk in my opinion is a health factor! Arsenic my Dear FB friends is deadly. Period. There is nothing good about arsenic in your drinking water.

  8. What kind of music would you like Toll Brothers to bring to Upper and Saddle River? “Toll Brothers proudly supports the communities in which it builds; among other philanthropic pursuits, the Company sponsors the Toll Brothers Metropolitan Opera International Radio Network, bringing opera to neighborhoods throughout the world.” For more information, visit

  9. If anything Toll Brothers removing 1000+ trees, replacing with new ones and bringing fresh clean top soil – in turn cleaning up 100+ acres is actually a good thing. Why doesn’t anyone blame the building departments – where is the frustration and anger in the incompetence from these town building departments? Toll Brothers is following their requests – building department should have been proactive and requested more from the beginning of the project to reduce the likely hood of run-off from future storms. As for home value some residents are complaining in the reduction of home value – however they are building luxury homes and should in fact bring the area up in value.

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