Readers have been reaching out to me over the last few months asking about the large dirt hill being built up on a property along Grove Ave in the Borough of National Park NJ. The effort is to properly close/cap the former landfill, and develop a solar farm on the property.
The massive dirt mound appears to be about 20 feet higher than the road. If you’ve driven by recently you’ve noticed that most of the raised dirt mound area along Grove Ave appears to be nicely graded now. Crews are also hydroseeding, to turn it into a nice green grass hill.
National Park Landfill Site Location
Not finding a lot of details online, I reached out to National Park’s Borough Clerk Joy Gunn, for details on the project, She provided an excellent response, with the Mayor CC’d in the email… so I simply include their commentary at the last section of this article
But first I’ll add that for those unfamiliar with the area of the project. The property sits at the Southern end of the town along S. Grove Ave. The property runs about 1/3 a mile along the roadway and also has Woodbury Creek as a border.
This is across the street from the Coconut Grove Dockside Bar (docks going in soon for the season) and if you cross the bridge which goes over Woodbury Creek, you are in West Deptford in the area of the Riverwinds complex.
What is a Solar Farm?
A solar farm is a large collection of solar panels which are used to generate electricity. The number of solar panels can be so large that they can generate significant amounts of electricity, which is sold back to the electric companies.
The expectation is that electricity generated covers the cost to develop the large array of solar panels, prepare the property for the installation… and then generate ongoing profits.
Solar farms are becoming more common in landfill remediations as they offer a way to utilize the land above landfill in a positive way, without trying to develop large structures overtop of the landfill contents.
This 2014 article at NJ.com explains the benefits of a solar farm that was developed on Deptford’s large Kinsley landfill. Gloucester Township also recently implemented a solar farm at the 60-acre GEMS landfill.
National Park Hawthorne Landfill Capping And Solar Farm
As mentioned, the information provided from the Borough was just so crisp and well written, that I am doing something I’ve never done before… the remaining information in this section provided here is directly from the Borough Clerk (with some basic formatting added by me)
From the Borough of National Park, NJ:
The landfill site is about 53 acres of upland area. The area is actually called the “Robert Hawthorne Sanitary Landfill”.
The Borough of National Park acquired the property in 1954 and the Borough contracted with the City of Philadelphia to receive construction waste and materials from the city when they were building the city out.
The Borough stopped taking materials in the 1978/79.
Around 2003 we were notified by the NJDEP that the landfill was not closed properly (Consistent with NJDEP Solid Waste Regulations.)
We knew we had an issue (budgetary-wise), as we knew this was a larger project than we could handle in-house.
The Borough at that time began the process of trying to find a use for the area, IF it could even be utilized, etc. In that process, the Borough was approached by vendors expressing interest with installing a solar field.
After many years and various vendors dropping out of the project, the Borough finally was able to contract with Resource Renewal and their designated Redevelopment entity NP Renewal, LLC to handle the design, NJDEP approvals, funding, capping (fill material) importation, documentation, project coordination, etc.
They are doing this project through 75% grants through the State of New Jersey and with the Redeveloper providing the rest of the funding so this will cost the taxpayers of the Borough nothing.
Additionally, Citizen’s Solar will be leasing the land from the Redeveloper and the Borough, and install the solar field, which we will be able to use as income.
We anticipate the closure project to be completed by the end of 2023 and solar to be online during the first half of 2024.
We’re very excited to finish up the project, and to be fully compliant with State Regulations and guidelines. Finally, we’d like to thank all residents and visitors that come to the Borough for their patience. Progress can be messy, but progress is positive!”
Links and Locations
National Park Borough – Robert Hawthorne Sanitary Landfill
S. Grove Ave
National Park, NJ