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4,500 gallons of fertilizer leak into river at Long Valley farm


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BnB posted this in the chat, thought I'd kick off a topic on it.

He even got quoted in the article!  The man is a LEGEND I tell ya!!! :)



WASHINGTON — State, county and township officials responded Tuesday to the site of a large liquid fertilizer spill into the South Branch of the Raritan River in Long Valley.

A West Mill Road farmer was attempting to apply the fertilizer to his field from a tanker when the valve malfunctioned, according to state Department of Environmental Protection spokesperson Bob Considine. The liquid fertilizer then spilled into a field and impacted a nearby stream that serves as an irrigation ditch.

Approximately 4,500 gallons of the fertilizer was released and “eventually found its way into the South Branch of the Raritan,” said Lt. Mark Niemynski of the Washington Township Police Department.


“That’s what prompted us to call DEP, the Morris County Prosecutor’s Office environmental crimes and arson unit, and HAZMAT was there, as well,” Niemynski said.

The call came in at 10:29 a.m., he said.


The fertilizer was identified by the DEP as UAM, a common product consisting of ammonia, nitrate, urea and water. The fertilizer dissolves in water and is not considered to be hazardous, according to Considine, and samples taken from the stream showed a neutral pH, with no impact to wildlife or humans apparent from the spill.


Considine said the DEP had closed its investigation, but Morris County First Assistant Prosecutor Thomas Zelante said, “We are investigating a spill on that road.”


Brian Cowden, a staff member of the eastern conservation staff for the nonprofit conservation group Trout Unlimited, said the stretch of the South Branch in Long Valley is considered to be a high-quality area for wild-trout fishing.


“My feeling is this is not a horrific spill, but the concern is if the toxicity level is lethal to trout, or the insects they eat,” he said. “We also know this kind of fertilizer can dissolve the oxygen content of the water, which also can affect the trout and insects. But the river is flowing nice and high now because of the snow melt-off, and as the saying goes, the solution to pollution is dilution.”


Staff Writer William Westhoven: 973-428-6627; [email protected]





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Nothing but a blowhard, I hear  :rofl:


My funders eat it up when I get quoted.  I have most of my salary and overhead covered by three Foundations located here in NJ each year.  They like to see projects they fund make it into the news (for good reasons, not bad, lol).  


We're still monitoring this spill and I will be talking to a fishing club member that leases this farm later today after he goes over personally.  This isn't the type of farmer that wants to talk to reporters or folks like me, so I'll handle it through others.  The farm, just for some useless trivia, goes back in the same family to the Revolutionary War.  In fact, George Washington deeded this land to the family for their service to his Army shortly after becoming our first President.  Sometimes we forget NJ's deep history.... 

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  • 2 weeks later...

Here's an great update from the Raritan Headwaters Association, the fantastic organization that works hard to protect the SBR and NBR watersheds regarding the spill the other week:


Here’s an update.  Just the facts:


The spill of approximately 4,500 gallons of ammonium nitrate at the Harbe Dan Farm in Middle Valley occurred March 18th.  After significant rain on March 19th, I collected four water samples on March 20th.  RHA sent them to a state certified lab.  The lab tested the samples for nitrates. We received the results this afternoon.  The surface water standard for nitrates in New Jersey is 10 mg/L (milligrams per liter), which is the same as the drinking water standard. None of the four samples exceeded the standard. 


The sample locations and results follow, from upstream to downstream:

Blue Crest Farm: 0.851 mg/L

Middle Valley Bridge:  0.945 mg/L

Vernoy Bridge: 0.874 mg/L

Brown’s Corner: 0.827 mg/L

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