Middlesex Borough, New Jersey, is working toward acquiring a Formerly Utilized Sites Remedial Action Program (FUSRAP) site for its Department of Public Works, supporting a $40 million adjacent development and a larger community redevelopment zone. To help make the borough’s plan a reality, the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Legacy Management (LM) has accelerated the process of transferring the southern portion of the Middlesex South, New Jersey, FUSRAP site.
To ensure redevelopment occurs in a timely manner, LM staff has worked closely with colleagues from Middlesex Borough, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection. The team evaluated various transfer and disposal options against redevelopment schedules and ultimately approved the use of a Finding of Suitability to Transfer (FOST) process to document that the southern portion of the property is environmentally suitable for transfer.
“The coordination and completion of this effort required intensive collaboration from all parties involved,” said LM FUSRAP Site Manager Darina Castillo.
LM’s Senior Realty Officer, David McNeil, wholeheartedly agreed, observing that “the leadership demonstrated by the local, state, and federal agencies involved in this process kept us focused on our shared goal of a smooth and efficient disposition of the Middlesex South site.”
The use of FOST for transfer of a FUSRAP property that is also currently on the National Priorities List (NPL) is unprecedented. Transferring a site on the NPL would typically lead to a lengthy approval process involving the EPA administrator and state governor. However, as all remedial actions are complete on the southern portion of the site, the team recognized that the transfer could be accelerated.
The FOST was finalized in March 2020 and requires subdivision of the property in order to demonstrate that the southern portion is environmentally suitable for transfer to the borough under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act Section 120(h) Property Transferred by Federal Agencies.
With the FOST complete, LM is in the process of granting an easement to Middlesex Borough to construct a public road across the property that will not only support the new department of public works building and adjacent development but also enhance traffic safety in the area and support the borough’s Lincoln Boulevard Redevelopment Plan to revitalize the area.
The Middlesex South site was home to the Middlesex Sampling Plant, established in 1943 by the Manhattan Engineer District to sample, store, test, and transfer ores containing uranium, thorium, and beryllium. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers completed remediation on the vacant FUSRAP site in 2008. As part of this effort, over 45,000 cubic yards of contaminated material was removed and disposed of off-site, allowing the site to achieve a cleanup goal of unrestricted use for soil. The northern portion of the site will remain under government ownership, while groundwater remedial activities are implemented.
The General Services Administration (GSA) will serve as the government’s agent to transfer the property.