Ramapo’s infamous dirt pile removed from Sloatsburg municipal fields, finally

BY CAROL MCILMURRAY

Sloatsburg’s Community Park is finally rid of 15,000 cubic yards of once-contaminated soil. The dirt sat in the park since 2009 when the Rockland Sewer Board dumped the material following excavation on local sewers.

The dirt remained there for years after the Town of Ramapo received $400,000 to remedy the matter in 2012.  Soil from the same project was also left piled high at the Gates of Praise Church in Hillburn, as well as two locations near an unused reservoir in Hillburn.

Work removing the dirt was completed on Sept 12.  The dirt filled a total of 1,071 truckloads, according to Diane Phillips, executive director of the Sewer Board.

Contractor Kevin Downes Tree Service Co. transported the soil to its facility in Hawthorne, NJ and delivered rocks and boulders to a private property in Tuxedo. The soil at the Hillburn church has also been removed, according to Philipps.

A recent independent analysis of the soil commissioned by the sewer district found the material in the Sloatsburg park and Hillburn church to no longer be contaminated, but the two piles at the unused reservoir was deemed non-hazardous contaminated soil, Phillips reported to local officials.

According to Sewer Board Chairman George Hoehmann, the county and Sewer Board will proceed to sue Town of Ramapo to recover money paid for work that was never completed. The previous chairman of the Sewer Board was Christopher St. Lawrence, who was also the supervisor of Ramapo during the years when the town failed to remove the soil from the Sloatsburg parkland.

“It’s very clear Ramapo was paid $400,000 and they never did the job,” Hoehmann told the Journal News.

Judge Walsh dismissed some of the District’s claims against the town in September on the grounds that it’s past the statute of limitations, and because the town did remove part of the soil in previous years. Walsh upheld that Town of Ramapo did not meet timelines to remove the soil.

“They got what they paid for,” Ramapo attorney Dennis Lynch countered in a recent interview with a local media venue.

The county and sewer district have appealed the decision.