Marturano: There’s no health crisis caused by the Keegan

The New Jersey Sports & Exposition Authority’s Director of Solid Waste says the illness you might have isn’t connected to the Keegan Landfill in any way.

When Gus Rosendale of WNBC, Channel 4, was in Kearny last week to do a story on the landfill’s saga, Thomas Marturano told the New York City journalist that the people of West Hudson are not in the midst of a health crisis because of the landfill.

“We see it as a nuisance-odor complaint,” Marturano said. “It’s not a health crisis.”

Marturano’s comments fired up local residents in ways we have not yet seen up to this point.

Several people took to social media to slam him.

“It’s definitely a health issue. I looked through a bunch of cases and there are loads of them but I already found the link between hydrogen and asthma,” one resident wrote.

Said another Kearny resident: “Marturano is arrogant and he knows it is a health issue. He is no match for Mayor (Alberto G.) Santos at the NJSEA meetings! Do your homework Tom and own the truth!”

And from yet another Kearny resident: “I can’t breathe, here again at the doctor, here all the time. My breathing is so much worse. I have no congestion, no fever no sore throat just a ridiculous cough for six months straight.”

Meeting canceled because of ‘threat of violence’

Meanwhile, ff you were one of the many West Hudsonians planning to attend last week’s meeting of the New Jersey Sports & Exposition Authority, you were in for a rude awakening as the state-run organization abruptly canceled the meeting the day before it was “scheduled.”

The NJSEA posted a notice in red on its website, www.njsea.com, noting that the meeting would not take place on Wednesday, Sept. 18. We later learned that was because of an alleged “threat of violence” against the autonomous authority.

What, specifically, that threat was is not yet known.

The meeting had originally been scheduled for Thursday, Sept. 19, but was moved back a day several weeks ago for reasons unknown.

The threat, whatever it was, could have been reported to the Lyndhurst Police Department since the state agency is located in that township. However, Det. Sgt. Vincent Auteri, the Lyndhurst PD’s public-information officer, told The Observer his department did not receive any reports of threats against the NJSEA. Instead, he says, it was reported to the New Jersey State Police.

The NJSP routinely protects meetings of the NJSEA, with at least two troopers usually on-site during the authority’s meetings. The NJSP did not release any details on the “threat.”

The NJSEA says on its website that it would announce the rescheduled date of the meeting as soon as it became available. However, as of Monday morning, Sept. 23 — The Observer’s presstime — that date had not yet been announced. (See www.theobserver.com for updates during the course of the week.)

Cancelation a week after proposed Sacco resolution

The threat came on the heels of state Sen. Nicholas Sacco’s resolution that calls upon the NJSEA — among other state agencies — to permanently close and cap the Keegan Landfill with an impermeable cap. That resolution must first go before the Senate’s Environment & Energy Committee. Presuming it is moved out of the committee, it would then go before the entire Senate if President Steve Sweeney places it on that body’s agenda.

Then the resolution would move to the Assembly’s Environment Committee where, if it passes the committee, it would then go before the entire Assembly.

Since it is a non-binding resolution, Gov. Phil Murphy’s signature would not be required.

The Town of Kearny’s lawsuit against the NJSEA continues. Testimony took place starting July 25 and continued into early August before Judge Jeff Jablonski. The judge has not yet rendered his decision. There is no indication as to when that might happen.

Sorry, kids, you’ll have to evacuate Harvey Field … again …

Meanwhile, on The Observer’s press day last week, Monday, Sept. 16, Harvey Field was evacuated because of yet another exceedance of hydrogen sulfide in the area. The state threshold for safe levels of the poisonous gas is 30 parts per billion, but that number is 15 ppb for the safety of children playing on town-owned fields or schools.

“The Town evacuated children using Harvey Field because of elevated hydrogen sulfide (H2S) readings. The Town’s air-monitoring station on the field reached 37 ppb during the closure period and peaked at nearly 50 ppb later in the evening,” Mayor Alberto G. Santos wrote on his Facebook page.

“The NJSEA’s monitoring station registered even higher readings during that same time period; the previous evening the NJSEA registered 200 ppb of H2S. Over 160 children were forced to leave Harvey Field, including the following: four teams playing seventh- and eighth-grade boys’ soccer games; six teams playing third- and fourth-grade boys’ soccer games; five teams playing first- and second-grade girls’ soccer games; and a pre-first-grade soccer team.”

Santos continues to be angry with the NJ Department of Environmental Protection for failing to fine the NJSEA when its own reading exceed 30 ppb. The last fine was in June. In August, readings were over the 30 ppb threshold every single day but one. In fact, twice, the high readings of the day were more than 1,000 ppb, more than 30 times the allowable limit.

“These H2S exceedances violate the DEP’s Notice of Violation dated June 5, 2019, in which DEP instructs NJSEA to ‘immediately cease emitting hydrogen sulfide in concentrations exceeding 30 ppb over any 30 minute period at or beyond the property line.’” Santos said. “Why have no violations been issued to NJSEA (by the State against the State) for H2S exceedances since June 5, 2019? There have been frequent emissions since that date. Why is DEP not protecting the public health of Kearny residents?”

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Editor & Broadcaster at 

Kevin A. Canessa Jr. is the editor of and broadcaster at The Observer, a place where he has served on and off since 2006. He is responsible for the editorial content of the newspaper and website, the production of the e-Newspaper, writing several stories per week (including the weekly editorial), conducting live broadcasts on Facebook Live, including a weekly recap of the news — and much more behind the scenes. Between 2006 and 2008, he introduced the newspaper to its first-ever blog — which included podcasts, audio and video. Originally from Jersey City, Kevin lived in Kearny until 2004, lived in Port St. Lucie. Florida, for four years until February 2016 and in March of that year, he moved back to West Hudson to return to The Observer full time. Click Here to send Kevin an email.