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2007-03-28
Lacey, NJ. Home Depot Uses Arsenic-Treated Lumber Near Public Wells

Township officials in Lacey, New Jersey may have to go to the well one more time in response to citizen frustration over a 1,400 foot wooden sound wall at the new Home Depot. Citizen activist Regina Discenza charged this week that lumber treated with Copper Chromate Arsenic (CCA) was used to construct the huge wall, which is located in the wellhead area for Lacey's Municipal Wells 3,4 and 5. According to Discenza, local officials are "playing Roulette with the Water Supply... Officials have blundered with the restrictions for the Lacey Retail Center located on Route 9 at Sunrise Blvd. The 299,000 square foot development is on the Wellhead area for Lacey. Tons of CCA lumber were used to construct the soundwall at the Lacey Home Depot Site. This 42 acre parcel, long the subject of controversy for the past 5 years. Citizens were told to leave it up to the professionals." On March 19th, Discenza spoke with Hoover Lumber's Plywall regarding the soundwall purchased and installed by Jersey Construction Company on the Home Depot Site. Hoover confirmed the construction company bought regular CCA Plywall, not special order ACQ (Alkaline Copper Quaternary) as it is approximately an extra dollar per square foot for the special order ACQ. "Since this wall was installed on the wellhead protection area for Lacey Municipal Wells 3, 4 and 5, the water supply runs risk of contamination." Discenza said. "Property owner, PREIT of Philadelphia, is well aware the 42 acre parcel is environmentally sensitive. No one ever specified this wall was being installed on a well head area. The Atlantic City Press confirmed that in fact the sound barrier was build with lumber that contains arsenic, according to the head of the Municipal Utilities Authority. The MUA told the newspaper it was concerned because "there is a slight possibility that the arsenic-laced lumber could affect the township's drinking water supply. It was brought to our attention by a concerned citizen around March 20," the MUA spokesman said. "The material is chromated copper arsenate, or CCA, commonly used for pressure-treated lumber. We are concerned about the use of that material and we're looking into options as to whether or not the wall should stay or be removed." Discenza told the Atlantic City Press, "That wall's been up for five months and not one citizen has called with concerns except me. God forbid something happens with the water."

What you can do: How symbolic is it that a Home Depot is separated from its neighbors by a wall of arsenic-treated lumber? You are no doubt thinking, "At least they didn't buy it from Home Depot." But it's consistent that a company which pays little attention to its environmental impact would allow a sound wall to be built of lumber that was treated with chemicals which would not mix well with public water supplies. And what can you say about a township that did not notice or care enough to watch over this process, to protect its own wells? Nobody seemed to notice until Discenza, who fought the project from the beginning, blew the whistle with local officials. This is not likely to be the last controversy surrounding this store, which should never have been built on that site in the first place. For earlier stories, search Newsflash by "Lacey."










 
 
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