Cleanup at Hoboken Gas Works

Hoboken Gas Works site “clean” – how can you be sure?

Close to a year and a half after PSE&G started this “cleanup” at the Hoboken Gas Works site near 13th & Clinton Streets – they seem to be “done” cleaning up whatever toxic mess was there.

You’d expect that if a public utility corporation would go through the hoops to appear that they did indeed clean it up – that the job was done to a satisfactory level of completion. But how can the public be sure? I know there are “tests” and reports – but can they be trusted? Do they get three or more independent companies to do the testing to ensure legitimacy?

One might never know, and it’d be great if all doubt can be removed (last thing you’d want to hear is that the ground underneath whatever building is built is still toxic 20 years down the road). Do they offer guarantees?

Hoboken gas works site how can you be sure it is really clean NJ - Cleanup at Hoboken Gas Works

Hoboken Citizens against the Construction noise
at PSE&G “gas works” remediation site

3/26/2014 Update:

Some uptown Hoboken residents are angry. They call themselves the “Citizens against the Construction noise,” and their gripe is the remediation going on at the toxic PSE&G Gas Works site at 13th & Clinton Streets.

Many feel that PSE&G is violating their agreement to keep the noise “minimized” and only between certain hours (here is the noise at 7:30am, half an hour before they’re “allowed” to start):

And the general ear-piercing sound during the day:

They’ve even made graphics that express their outrage:

Citizens against the construction noise in Hoboken - Cleanup at Hoboken Gas Works

Citizens against the construction noise in Hoboken call PSEG Liars - Cleanup at Hoboken Gas Works

Is construction “progress” right or wrong in an urban environment?

These citizens certainly have a right to express complaints – especially about any “violations” or special “liberties” the construction and cleanup crews might be making or taking.

However, one Hoboken resident we spoke with pretty much want these residents to shut up, “These entitled assholes don’t know how lucky they are to live in Hoboken. Don’t they realize that the very building they’re living in ALSO MADE NOISE when it was under construction? They must feel the world revolves around them.”

While area neighbor John was a bit more forgiving, “I’m happy to get rid of this useless eyesore of a lot. The noise today for an improved block tomorrow is a sacrifice I’m willing to make. Certainly no need to form an activist group to complain about it. This is what capitalism and living in a free country is all about. Don’t like it? Move to the country.”

What do you think? Should this lot just remain empty forever? Or should the proper steps be taken to clean it up and move forward already?

Hoboken Gas Works Environmental Cleanup & Remediation

1/9/2014 Update:

We told you about the impending environmental cleanup over at the old Hoboken Gas Works Site on Block 110 (12th & 13th between Grand & Clinton) a few months ago. And this week they began constructing a MASSIVE dome-like structure to aid in containing the “fumes” that plagued other cleanup sites in Hoboken recently (Willow14 rings a bell to many uptown residents).

PSE&G plans to remove nearly 100,000 tons of contaminated material and cart it out of town.

The project is expected to take up to a year and a half to complete. Uptown residents probably are still a bit nervous, regardless of the fancy “toxic dome.” Perhaps this can be one of the tourist stops during the Super Bowl?

Hoboken Gas Works remediation PSEG Clinton - Cleanup at Hoboken Gas Works

Hoboken Gas Works Environmental Cleanup – reason to worry?

9/5/2013 Update:

If I lived in the area surrounding Block 110 in Hoboken (that empty lot on Clinton between 12th & 13th), I might be a bit nervous. Some kind of environmental cleanup will begin in the near future. This is a similar situation that area residents near the Willow14 development uptown are still complaining about…

Read the memo that PSE&G sent out concerning the remediation below.

Environmental cleanup Hoboken Gas Works - Cleanup at Hoboken Gas Works

Former Hoboken Gas Works Site Remediation and Restoration Project

Project Background

Prior to the widespread availability of natural gas, gas was “manufactured” through a process of heating coal in a specialized oven. These facilities were called Manufactured Gas Plants (MGP) and they were common in many urban areas of the United States during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Manufactured gas was used for residential and street lighting and cooking. The
manufactured gas process produced byproducts such as coal tar and other chemicals that were used in the chemical, dye and pharmaceutical industries. An unintended consequence of the MGP industry was the release of coal tar and various byproducts to the environment.

A predecessor company of Public Service Electric and Gas Company (PSE&G) operated an MGP in Hoboken from the late 1860’s to the mid 1930’s on two parcels of property that are identified as Block
110, Lot 1 and Block 116, Lot 1 on the City of Hoboken tax map. The focus of this project is Block 110, which is bordered on the north by 13th Street, on the south by 12th Street, on the east by Clinton Street, and on the west by Grand Street.

PSE&G plans to remediate the soil and ground water contaminants on this property beginning mid-2014. To prepare the site for this activity, equipment and personnel will mobilize to the site in the 3rd
quarter of 2013. To remediate the property, PSE&G plans to excavate approximately 95,000 tons of contaminated soil from the site. The excavated soil will be transported to an off-site facility for treatment and disposal. There will also be extraction, treatment and disposal of contaminated ground water. The project is anticipated to last between 15 and 17 months.

Project Planning and Execution

PSE&G has conducted extensive investigations of the site in accordance with the regulations and oversight provided by the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP). The investigation results have been provided to the NJDEP for their review and approval. A Remedial Action Work Plan, describing the method for the remediation of this property was submitted to the NJDEP in July 2012.

The first few weeks of work will focus on preparing the site, moving construction equipment into place and trailers to serve as temporary office space. The consulting firm ERM will provide engineering
oversight of the day-to-day operations of the project on behalf of PSE&G.

What You Can Expect To See

  • Installation of a Cofferdam to Stabilize the Site: The next step in the process will be to install a subsurface steel wall, known as a cofferdam, around the entire perimeter of the property. This will be done using low-frequency technology, to minimize noise. The purpose of the cofferdam is to support the excavation and protect surrounding utilities and structures. The cofferdam will be reinforced by an innovative method that will freeze the soil around the perimeter of the property. This frozen zone of soil provides outstanding structural support and will help to shorten the project schedule.
  • Establishment of a Water Treatment System: The contractor will then establish a temporary on site water treatment system for the removal of ground water from the site. As the excavation proceeds, ground water will be pumped through a series of on-site wells and treated on-site prior to being conveyed to the local sewer authority for additional treatment, in accordance with local permits.
  • Establishment of a Temporary Enclosure to Control Dust and Minimize Odors: To minimize the disturbances to residents and businesses, PSE&G plans to use a temporary enclosure to help contain dust and potential odors associated with the deep soil remediation activities from being detected off-site. Soils containing MGP-related materials sometimes have an odor similar to that of mothballs. These odors can be detected by the human nose at levels below what can be detected by an air monitoring instrument and well below what would be considered a health concern. The enclosure also will help minimize the noise and dust typically associated with a construction site. It will be removed after the remediation work is complete.
  • Trucks Carrying Clean and Treated Soil: Excavated soil will be loaded into trucks for transport to facilities where it will be treated and disposed. Trucks are covered and cleaned prior to leaving the site and will take a prescribed route through Hoboken that will be planned with the help of the City of Hoboken. We have recommended going north on Park Avenue to I-95. Trucks will not travel south of 12th Street. Approximately 35 trucks per day on average are expected during excavation and backfilling operations only.

Outreach to the Public and Coordination with the City of Hoboken

PSE&G will hold a series of meetings with local residents to explain the project and the steps that will be taken to minimize any inconveniences. The meetings will provide information on the project
such as:

– Site history and remediation goals;
– Project details and duration;
– Steps to protect the environment;
– Measures to protect health and safety;
– Steps to minimize offsite impacts including odors and traffic impacts; and,
– The company’s commitment to community outreach and communication.

The project success will require close coordination with the City of Hoboken and the residents in the area of the project. Critical aspects of this coordination with the City of Hoboken includes the
timely review and approval of local permits for the construction of the enclosure structures, waste water discharge permits, traffic plans and sidewalk closures. Weekly project updates will be provided
to the public and a toll-free phone number and website will be established for residents to interact with the project.


Call PSE&G direct at 888-574-4835 or via email at

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Monday, March 31, 2014 11:24 am
Monday, March 31, 2014 11:19 am

@CATCH2014 How loud is TOO loud? from Catch GrandStreet How loud is TOO loud? Well, according to OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration —, exposure to high levels of noise can cause permanent hearing loss. Neither surgery nor a hearing aid can help correct this type of hearing loss. Short term exposure to loud noise can also cause a temporary change in hearing (your ears may feel stuffed up) or a ringing in your ears (tinnitus). These short-term problems may go away within a few minutes or hours after leaving the noise. However, repeated exposures to loud noise can lead to permanent tinnitus and/or hearing loss. Loud noise can create physical and psychological stress, reduce productivity, interfere with communication and concentration, and contribute to workplace accidents and injuries by making it difficult to hear warning signals. The effects of noise induced hearing loss can be profound, limiting your ability to hear high frequency sounds, understand speech, and seriously impairing your ability to communicate. ( Exposure to Noise is measured in units of sound pressure levels called decibels, using an A-weighted sound levels (dBA). The A-weighted sound levels closely match the perception of loudness by the human ear. Decibels are measured on a logarithmic scale which means that a small change in the number of decibels results in a huge change in the amount of noise and the potential damage to a person’s hearing. Permissable Noise Exposures — The permissible exposure limit (PEL) for noise is 90 dBA, OSHA… Read more »

Thursday, March 27, 2014 2:44 pm

I’d suggest getting hold of a digital decibel meter on Amazon($20-75) and start taking and logging sound measurements at key points in the day. Having these numbers will help your case more than just a video should you choose to start including OSHA and NJ OHS in your complaints. I would not bother with any Hoboken gov;t office, as has been mentioned earlier, they will not help you.

Reply to  hoboken411
Thursday, March 27, 2014 3:56 pm

Good point 411. The app would be very handy for some initial measurements. My thought is their results might not get ignored by the town and PSE&G as easily with a professional unit. If it comes to having to present in a court or other forum, the handheld units microphones diaphragm are more accurately calibrated for frequency range/sound pressure levels compared to a phone mic. [quote comment=”222853″]@HT – they have apps too, without the need to buy a physical unit.[/quote]

Reply to  hoboken411
Thursday, March 27, 2014 4:00 pm

Thank you for the advice…that’s a great idea. We will look into this immediately and report back to you. Please click on the following link — and LIKE our page — – See more at: comment=”222853″]@HT – they have apps too, without the need to buy a physical unit.[/quote]

Reply to  CATCH2014
Monday, March 31, 2014 1:21 pm comment=”222855″]Thank you for the advice…that’s a great idea. We will look into this immediately and report back to you. Please click on the following link — and LIKE our page — – See more at: [/quote]

Thursday, March 27, 2014 11:08 am

We (CATCH) think it’s important to have an OPEN discussion regarding issues like this…but it’s also important to have both sides of the story presented fairly. We think PSE&G are doing a fabulous job — SERIOUSLY — they are helping Hoboken to clean up…and I think that’s important…but at what cost to it’s citizens?…Well, according to Hoboken Ordinances — the cost is 8am to 6pm (which we fully support)…the cost is not 6pm to 8am…nor weekends, nor holidays. So, our point is…CATCH: Citizens Against The Construction-noise in Hoboken has NO ISSUES regarding construction when it’s performed WITHIN the LAWS and ORDINANCES set by the City Council of Hoboken! These laws and ordinances were put into place to protect the citizens of Hoboken. However, if these laws ordinances are broken for special interest groups and BIG BUSINESSES such as PSE&G, then it could set a precedence for other construction companies or other entities to break these laws and ordinances as well. Why is it okay for PSE&G to break the noise ordinances and not citizens? I encourage anyone who thinks CATCH: Citizens Against The Construction-noise in Hoboken is being self-righteous and feeling entitlement,…well, they should go to the corner of 13th and Clinton and listen to the noise…and try to have a conversation…YOU CAN’T! You can’t think, you can’t sleep, and all this noise is being generated 24 hours a day / 7 days a week in front of FOX HILLS Senior Center – there are old people in that building… Read more »

Wednesday, March 26, 2014 8:27 pm

I can’t stand the sound of Mr. Softee, so I can imagine how they feel.

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