Bancroft project hits major snag with revelation of on-site oil leak

Bancroft project, still in limbo, expected to be pushed back indefinitely due to discovery of environmental issue on site.

The long-awaited consummation of the agreement between the Borough of Haddonfield and a developer, intended to place housing units on the former site of the Bancroft School, has hit a major, and unexpected snag.

On Wednesday, the borough’s Board of Commissioners issued a detailed statement about the situation, which read:

“Late in the afternoon on January 5, 2021 the Borough was notified by the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) that an oil leak was reported at the properly formerly owned by Bancroft (the Property). NJDEP conducted a site inspection on that same day, at which time two piles of asphalt and two disturbed areas were observed. Heavy petroleum odors were present in both disturbed areas, along with a visible oil sheen located in the depressed area in front of Bancrofts former Stevenson Center.

“Petroleum sheen & odor were also identified in and around the storm drain which is located further north on the Property. NJDEP communicated to Borough officials that based upon initial observations, it appeared that this was the result of the removal of an underground storage tank

“Borough officials immediately notified the contracted redeveloper, 2 Hopkins Lane, LLC (the ‘Redeveloper), of the leak. Borough representatives also visited receipt of notification from NJDEP on January 5th, as well as the morning of January 6th, and are currently reviewing engineering & environmental reports associated with the Property

“The Borough was informed that, on or about December 22, 2020, Maser Consulting conducted excavations as part of the Redevelopers due diligence. The Redeveloper has represented that the purpose of these excavations was to determine the soil infiltration rate at the Property, in order to calculate stormwater recharge. According to Maser Consulting, a double ring infiltrometer test and a visual test pit to determine the seasonal high groundwater table were required for purposes of finalizing the stormwater plan to be submitted as part of the NJDEP permitting process

“This investigation is ongoing, and a remediation plan is being developed in accordance with NJDEP regulations. As more information is available, the Board of Commissioners will provide updates to residents and media outlets in a timely manner.”