Friday, October 24, 2008

Agreement to spare creek is a short-sighted repeat of history

The worst newspaper in the world ran a story earlier this week noting that the City of Long Branch has intentions to provide water treatment for Monmouth Park waste water. The article claims that the Agreement will spare creek contamination and that the City of Long Branch handling the waste water is a "long-term pollution solution often discussed by the Sports Authority and the state Department of Environmental Protection". Unfortunately, this solution has been tried already, and this solution fails.

In 1994, Monmouth Park officials reached an agreement with the Two Rivers Water Reclamation Authority (TRWRA) to have TRWRA accept up to 200,000 additional gallons of wastewater from Monmouth Park; this after a previous agreement in the 70s when TRWRA was built proved to be innsufficient. The 1994 agreement did not solve the problem, just as the new  agreement with Long Branch will not solve the problem.

In August of 2008, just months ago, TRWRA then agreed to treat more racetrack wastewater. How much polluted wastewater is Monmouth Park producing that the entire river is polluted even after 200,000 ADDITIONAL gallons of waterwater, on top of whatever the original agreement handled, ON TOP of the August agreement are being treated? And how much polluted water is coming from Monmouth Park that we're now supposed to believe that using the City of Long Branch's sewage treatment facilities is going to solve the problem? Based on previous actions by Monmouth Park and the NJSEA, having access to the City of Long Branch's system is not only a band-aid, but a free pass to continue polluting at an ever more dangerous level. How many total hundreds of thousands of gallons of polluted water is Monmouth Park producing?

As time has progressed, it has become more and more apparent that the owners of Monmouth Park, the NJSEA, the DEP and the State of New Jersey are incompetent and negligent.  The late August 2008 waste discharge into the creek was due to negligent worker(s) action. The property owners and the staff at Monmouth Park must be forced to develop Standard Operating Procedures that ensure the pollution stops and the SOP must be strictly adhered to by all employs of Monmouth Park, including the stable staff workers which may require a translation from English to Spanish. There are numerous other horse farms throughout New Jersey and they do not have the negative impact on the environment that Monmouth Park has had.  Clearly, Monmouth Park is not following the same SOP as other horse farms, even if they have the same documented SOP. Further, it is clear that the DEP and NJSEA, along with Corzine and other State officials simply do not care how much tax payer money is spent on Monmouth Park operations, or cleanup, and I suspect that the Casino Control Commission sees no problem with a great source of revenue polluting the environment either.

While I appreciate the efforts by Councilman Anthony Giordano of Long Branch to put an end to the pollution, I must remind those who care about the environment that similar solutions have been tried before, in the 70s, 90s, and just months ago, and those solutions have failed. This is not an acceptable, long term solution in my opinion and more must be done to ensure that Monmouth Park stops producing so much waste water. Rather than allow Monmouth Park to produce more and more waste water and simply try to process the waste and assume that the staff at Monmouth Park doesn't close the wrong valve, the DEP should be investigating the operations at Monmouth Park and ensuring that the track owners pay their fines, and do their part to stop future pollution, while also cleaning up the pollution and damage that they have already caused. There is a clear conflict of interest between the NJ DEP, Monmouth Park, the State of New Jersey, etc and it is we the tax payers and residents of New Jersey who foot the bill, and are left to deal with the pollution.

Unfortunately, our great and powerful Congressman, Mr. Frank Pallone, who loves to tell us how much he cares about the environment, has already made his biennial, election year appearance on the issue and I have little to no faith that the congressman will make any efforts to help We the People. Say congressman.... how are those dolphins doing since you made believe you cared about them too? Any more dead mammals in the river? 

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