The Top 5 Causes of Soil Pollution

We know there have been many areas identified as containing contaminated soil, but how did that soil get contaminated in the first place? There really are 5 main things that have caused soil pollution throughout the years. They are:

  1. Industrial Activity. This has probably been the biggest contributor in the last century, especially from mining and manufacturing, as the by-products are often contaminated, and not disposed of properly.
  2. Agricultural Activity. Modern pesticides and fertilizers are full of chemicals that are not produced in nature, and therefore nature is often unable to break them down. As a result they seep into the ground after they mix with water and reduce the fertility of the soil. Plants also absorb these pesticides and when they decompose, they cause added soil pollution.
  3. Waste Disposal. From diapers being disposed of, to the way our sewage system handles waste, we often see it dumped directly in landfills, which then pollute the soil and water. Because our bodies are full of toxins and chemicals the waste we produce, when seeping into the land causes soil pollution.
  4. Accidental Oil Spills. We’ve all heard about different spills, which can happen whenever you store or transport chemicals like oil. Think about the oil at fuel stations spilling, and then think about larger crude oil spills. When this happens it makes soil unsuitable for cultivation, and often chemicals from the spill ender into the groundwater, and pollute not just the soil, but drinking water as well.
  5. Acid Rain. As if 1-4 aren’t bad enough, when their are pollutants in the air, and it starts to rain, they mix and fall back to the ground, causing acid rain. This pollution can then dissolve important nutrients, changing the structure of the soil.

As you see there are a variety of ways that soil pollution can occur, but the good news is there is one “simple” way to stop it. If we better regulate Industrial and Agricultural activity, we can fix air pollution and waste disposal. And, if we can focus our energies on other energy rather than oil, we can limit future oil spills. Until then, we will work hard to clean up the toxic soils that are found, and make our Earth a healthier place to live.

Effects of Soil Pollution

Soil pollution doesn’t just effect plant growth, it contributes to a lot of consequences. Here are a few of the things you should be concerned about when it comes to soil pollution:

  1. Effect on Plant Growth: If the chemistry of the soil changes a lot in a short period of time most plant will be unable to adapt to the changes, and can contribute to soil erosion as well as soil fertility. Decreased soil fertility means fruits and vegetables that grow in it lack necessary nutrients, and absorb toxins passing them on to anyone consuming them.
  2. Effect on Human Health: Soil is the reason we can sustain ourselves. Crops grown on polluted soil absorb the pollution, and pass it on to us. Long term our genetic make-up can be affected and contribute to chronic health problems. Emissions from areas with polluted soil are also a large concern and cause of serious health effects.
  3. Effect on Animal Health: Just like humans, animals are sustained by soil, and the pollution absorbed by their foods can be passed onto them, causing the same effects as humans – long term health problems, not easily solved.

It is important that when contaminated soil is found, it is removed and remediated properly in a facility like Westside Environmental. It is also important that we regulate industries to ensure that they don’t dump toxic waste inappropriately, and take care of our environment.

Organic farming, and reducing the use of pesticides and fertilizers is also important to make sure that we keep our environment clean and healthy for future generations.

Aggregate Sales are on the Rise. What does that mean?

Back in March the US Geological Survey (USGS) reported that in 2016 crushed stone production totaled about 1.48 billion tons of crushed stone, valued at $16.2 billion. That number  was up 11% over 2015. Along the same lines consumption was also up, and has increased an average of 7% over the same period the previous year. The survey also noted that every quarter since the second quarter of 2013 consumption of aggregate materials has risen.

What this is indicating to us is stronger construction activity and a recovery in both the private and residential sectors. This level of growth hasn’t been seen since late 2005! This also tells us the consumption of aggregates is likely to continue increasing.

Along with aggregate Construction sand and gravel production in 2016 increased in tonnage of 7% over 2015 as well.

Both materials are expected to reach or exceed the historical annual average of the past 50 years which was a 2 to 4 % increase per year.

We’ve seen a lot of construction projects happening, and have had a demand for aggregate materials, so we would agree with the findings of the study from our end.

What does that mean? It seems to us that it’s indicating the construction industry will continue to flourish, providing jobs, and potentially keeping the economy growing. We hope that continues to be the case here in the NY metro area as we head into the second have of 2017.

Consequences of Exposure to Contaminated Soil

Contaminated soil doesn’t always have the same toxin in it, so the consequences of exposure really depend on what the toxin is that is contaminating the soil, and how you’ve been exposed to it, and how long you’ve been exposed to it.

Overall if there is an area near you that has contaminated soil or groundwater, make sure you limit your exposure. A variety of health problems have been linked to many of the toxins found, for example: arsenic is known to cause cancer and lead can cause a range of health problems, and affect a child’s development. This is exactly what these Vineland, NJ residents are worried about.

Stay aware, be active, and be vocal in making sure contaminated soil in your community is removed and remediated for the safety of everyone.

What is Soil Contamination Anyway?

Soil contamination is the presence of man-made chemicals to the natural soil environment. Soil contamination typically occurs from rupture of underground storage tanks, application of pesticides and herbicides, percolation of contaminated surface water to subsurface strata, leaching of wastes from landfills or direct discharge of industrial wastes to the soil. What the toxin is that contaminates the soil varies, but some of the toxins that are found in contaminated soil are:

  • Chloroform
  • Carbon tetrachloride
  • Tetrachloroethylene
  • Chromium
  • PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyls)
  • VOCs (volatile organic compounds)
  • Lead
  • Arsenic
  • Petroleum

The National Priorities List (NPL) keeps a listing of all sites that have been contaminated with these toxins as well as others. This helps the EPA determine which sites are more dangerous and need immediate clean-up. The sites could have contaminated soil or these toxins could be found in groundwater on that site as well.

It is a slow process identifying all the contaminated sites and putting the right plan in place to clean them up and ensure safety throughout the process as contaminated materials are hauled and remediated. At Westside we work with contractors to help get this job done as efficiently and safely as possible.

Our rail-based facility makes it easy to transport soil, and our negative air system allows us to safely process the soil, ensuring a clean, efficient result.


Toxic Areas in Bergen + Passaic

We would like to think that our Environment is safe for us to live in. That the air is safe to breathe, water to drink, food to eat, etc. Unfortunately, sometimes there are toxins that are found in the ground that need to be remediated.

Have you ever heard of the National Priorities List (NPL)? It is the list of national priorities known to release or threaten the release of hazardous substances, pollutants or contaminants located in the US. The list is intended to help guide the EPA in determining which sites to further investigate. And, guess what state has the more sites on the list than any other? New Jersey.

There are a couple in Bergen & Passaic that we thought we’d point out, you can read a more detailed article about these sites here if you’d like to learn more.

The hazardous sites in Bergen & Passaic are:

  • Fair Lawn Well Field in Fair Lawn
  • Garfield Groundwater the EC Electroplating (ECE) property and a chromium groundwater plume extending 1/2 mile west to the Passaic River
  • Curcio Scrap Metal in Saddle Brook
  • Maywood Chemical Co. there are more than 90 properties in Maywood, Rochelle Park and Lodi
  • Quanta Resources in Edgewater
  • Ringwood Mines/Landfill in Ringwood
  • Scientific Chemical Processing in Carlstadt
  • Universal Oil Products in East Rutherford

The sites are in various stages of clean-up. Some the soil has been remediated but groundwater cleanup is ongoing, some the soil remediation is still happening, and some, nothing has happened yet.

The good news is that our facility is located in a convenient location to make us a great option for helping to clean up these local sites and restore these sites back to healthy levels, making our neighborhoods safer, and better.

Our negative air system safely processes incoming material – making clean-up that much easier for you.

Aggregate Sales

Today marks the first day of Spring, and it’s time to start thinking about all those construction projects if you haven’t already.

Are you ready for your drainage project? Whether you’re installing a french drain, septic drain field, retaining wall drain or road side drain, we have the perfect aggregate material for you to use.

Aggregate Stone

Or, are you pouring a foundation? Building a road? Paving a driveway? Repairing railroad tracks? We have the right aggregate for you too.

We offer 7 different types of aggregate, to ensure you find the right base for your job.

3/8” Pea Gravel
3/8” Clean Stone
3/4” Crushed Stone
1 1/2” Crushed Stone
2-4” Crushed Stone
Mason Sand
Concrete Sand

And, you can pick it up, or we can deliver it to you. Give us a call today at 201-472-1031 to place your order.

How Soil Remediation is Done

The process of cleaning soil is probably a lot simpler than what you might think.

Once the soil gets to our state-of-the-art facility (either brought to us by you, or Cardella Waste), it is dumped in our sealed-off facility. Our Negative-air filtration system purifies the air before it is released back into the atmosphere. Meanwhile the waste material is sorted and recyclables are separated. The balance is loaded onto rail cars (which reduces our CO2 emissions).

We offer disposal and remediation of contaminated soil:

• Petroleum Contaminated Soil
• Non-Hazardous Contaminated Soil
• Lead Contaminated Soil
• PCB Window Caulking
• Construction Waste
• Demolition Waste
• Non-Hazardous Waste
• Vegetative Waste
• Dry Industrial Waste (ID27)

Give us a call today at 201-472-1031 if you need help with contaminated soil.

Soil Projects for You

We’re in the business of cleaning soil to remove contaminants from it.

Soil Contamination Clean Up


What is Soil anyway?

It is a complex mixture of minerals, water, air, organic matter, and organisms which performs many critical functions in an ecosystem.

So, we thought you might be interested in learn a little more about soil, what’s in it, different types, what different plants need, and more. We came across this website, and thought you would enjoy many of the things on it. You can have fun with your kids, and learn about science at the same time.

We’re not going to lie, this Dirt Pudding might just be our favorite. What’s yours?

Why is Westside Environmental Different?

You’re in need of a Material Recovery Facility that makes the difficult job of cleaning up contaminated soil easy. WE are a unique company in this space, and WE strive to help our clients make the process as simple as possible.

Being the first rail-based material recovery facility in the United States gives us a unique position, of being able to take and send out materials quickly and efficiently. Plus, our negative air system is the “Gold Standard” in environmental achievement, and allows us to safely process incoming material.

In addition, WE are fully permitted by the NJ DEP and an active member and Charter Sponsor of the NJ Chapter and Gold Sponsor of the New York Chapter of the United States Green Building Council. WE are also included in the New Jersey Meadowlands Commission Solid Waste Management Plan and meet all LEED documentation to assist our customers in fulfilling MR Credits 2.1 and 2.2.

If we haven’t sold you yet, on why we’re different from the other companies out there, here are 4 more reasons why Westside Environmental and Cardella Waste:

  1. We don’t contract anything out. All of our work is performed with our own trucks and team members.
  2. We are paperless. All transactions happen electronically in real-time and are emailed to you. LEED reports are created automatically based on what is in your dumpster.
  3. We make it easy for you. Your team can send orders by calling, texting or emailing.
  4. We provide you with same day service. We have a fleet of over 50 vehicles.

Did we convince you yet?  Then, give us a call at 201-472-10311 to find out how we can help you.