- Associated Press - Tuesday, February 3, 2015

JERSEY CITY, N.J. (AP) - Jersey City’s mayor said Tuesday he wants to ensure a polluted site in the city is cleaned up the right way - by stopping the cleanup cold.

Standing at the site of a former chromium factory that left behind about 20 acres of contaminated land, Mayor Steven Fulop said the city would seek to have PPG Industries, the company responsible for the pollution and current cleanup, barred from the site by next Monday unless it guarantees the site will be suitable for redevelopment.

Through a spokesman, the company said it would go to court to maintain access to the site, which is next to a residential neighborhood.

PPG and its predecessors produced chromium at the site from the 1920s to the mid-1960s, according to the state Department of Environmental Protection. Chromium is used in metal plating and in the production of stainless steel and colored glass, according to the DEP’s website. The manufacturing process produces contaminants that include hexavalent chromium, a toxic metal linked to a variety of health problems.

PPG reached a settlement with the DEP in 2011 along with Honeywell International and Occidental Chemical Corp. for the cleanup of numerous chromium-contaminated sites in Hudson County.

According to Fulop, PPG isn’t preparing the site, across Interstate 78 from Liberty State Park, for future redevelopment as required under a consent order. That would require, among other things, replacing affecting streets and sidewalks and installing sewer and drainage connections, he said.

Instead, Fulop said, PPG is “handing back to the city a large piece of property that is essentially unusable.” He noted that the adjacent neighborhood is made up largely of black and Hispanic middle- and lower-income residents and would benefit from a redeveloped site.

In an email, a PPG spokesman disputed Fulop’s characterization of the cleanup and said the company was adhering to the consent order.

“PPG remains fully committed to completing its previously agreed upon remedial obligations in a manner that will permit redevelopment,” spokesman Mark Silvey said. “The Jersey City Redevelopment Agency’s action to deny PPG access to areas being remediated will seriously impair PPG’s ability to complete this important project.”

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