NEWARK, NJ – An application for a new industrial energy project in Newark’s Ironbound that was denied by community activists is being filed before the Zoning Board to see if it made the right decision when it referred the matter to the Planning Board referred.
Aries Clean Technologies plans to build a biochar production facility at an existing location on Lower Passaic. During a planning committee meeting on Monday, officials announced that the zoning board would now hear a postponement of the motion.
“If they find the appeal is timely, they will investigate the zoning decision to send the application to [central planning board]Chris Watson, director of the Office of Planning and Zoning, said in a statement. “Should you find that the zoning determination is incorrect, you now have the authority to transfer the application to one of the [zoning board of adjustment]. ”
Sign up for the Newark newsletter
Our newsletter delivers the local news that you can trust.
You have successfully registered for the TAPinto Newark newsletter.
The review is expected to take place in front of the zoning board on June 10th. Until a decision was made, city officials said the Planning Board would not take any further judicial action in relation to Aries’ application.
The latest move on the application comes after months of discussions between city officials about the project and has caused trouble with environmental officials like Ironbound Community Corporation and Clean Water Action of New Jersey.
The facility would use a technology known as fluidized bed gasifier to process and dispose of up to 430 wet tons of domestic wastewater treated biosolids per day.
The wastewater would be collected locally in the New York and New Jersey regions and treated in separate facilities. The human waste or biosolids separated from the treated wastewater would then be brought to the planned Newark facility and converted into “biochar” products through gas combustion, which Aries plans to sell as a concrete base.
While environmentalists claim the facility would be a “sludge factory,” exacerbating the Ironbound’s already degraded air quality and raising other concerns such as potential odors and transportation to and from the site, Aries claims the site would otherwise.
Unlike Mud, Aries said a Class B Biosolid will be brought to the site instead. This is left over when the solids from municipal sewage are dewatered and treated with chemicals to remove some, but not all, of the pathogens. Typically, the wastewater is dumped in rural landfills, which means biosolids have to be shipped from places like New Jersey to Pennsylvania or the south, adding to multiple source pollution. Landfill sludge is not permitted in New Jersey.
With a truck depot currently at the planned location of the facility, it houses around 100 trucks and generates almost 400 trips to and from the site every day. Aries claims that their operations would reduce local transportation traffic on Doremus Avenue by approximately 110,000 trips per year and reduce air pollution.
“Greenhouse gas emissions will decrease net,” said Aries chemical engineer Joel Thornton during a public meeting in March. “I don’t want to misrepresent that there is an emissions profile associated with the location. However, if you factor in the landfilling of the currently occurring material and the mining of that material, which produces a large amount of methane, there will be a net reduction in emissions in the region. ”
According to Aries officials, no odors would be released in the production buildings at the site either. According to the site plan, the on-site buildings would be enclosed and kept under negative pressure, and biosolids would be shipped in closed, watertight container trucks to reduce the risk of odors.
Although Aries claims that his facility would actually benefit the area to some extent, Kim Gaddy, a Newark-based and environmentally responsible organizer of New Jersey’s clean water action, said during a public meeting that the city is already having a serious impact Pollution and Concerns The operation of the site will have an additional impact.
“We have suffered disproportionate pollution in our communities,” said Gaddy. “Our communities are dying of asthma, heart attacks, and all types of kidney failure due to the cumulative effects of pollution sources that we unjustly suffer.”