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.

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.

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.

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.

Contamination Clean Up: Soil

Soil Contamination Clean Up

Soil contamination is a mess that can pose a hazard for both the environment and humans. Hazardous materials in soil like petroleum and lead can not only damage the natural environment by killing off certain plants and animals, but can also by means of physical contact and inhalation negatively affect the health of humans. Last month we dug into the subject of petroleum-contaminated soil and the positive impact plants can have on cleaning up certain messes created by humans.

However, sometimes the contamination is far too great for plants to lend a helping hand (or leaf). In that case, what can we humans do to combat soil contamination due to petroleum, lead and other damaging substances? Besides attempting to prevent oil spills, toxic material leaks and other unfortunate circumstances that lead to soil contamination, the proper remediation is the next best option for soil contamination damage that’s already been done.

The first step in contaminated soil remediation is to have it moved to a sealed off purifying facility, like our “Gold-Standard” facility in North Bergen. Once safely transported to a facility, the soil is then sealed off from the outside environment and remediated in a variety of ways. Depending on the service provider and the contaminate, different methods are used such as injecting microorganisms to the soil, chemical decomposition or stabilizing the metals in the soil. At Westside Environmental, we use the latest technology in the form of a negative-air system that purifies that air around the soil before releasing it back into the environment.


How Plants Fight Soil Contamination

46th Annual Earth Day

Last month we celebrated the 46th annual Earth Day and it was so exciting to see so many people stepping up to take care of our planet! While Earth Day is technical just one day per year, you can celebrate Earth Day every day by doing simple things like participating in a park cleanup or reusing recyclable materials to create something new and beautiful like these mason jar herb gardens that we shared last month! But, did you know that humans aren’t alone when it comes to taking care of planet Earth?

Did you know Plants Fight Soil Contamination?

Plants also work hard to try and make the world a cleaner, healthier place. Specifically, some plants help by remediating petroleum-contaminated soil. Petroleum-contaminated soil is actually one of the most common forms of soil pollution and tends to happen due to drilling refineries, accidental spills and even illegal dumping. Not only is petroleum-contaminated soil bad for the Earth but it’s bad for humans as well! There are dozens of health risks that come with being near soil that is contaminated with oil considering even inhaling the vapors from it can lead adverse health affects.

Soil Contamination Facility

So how do plants help fight soil pollution? It’s a process called phytoremediation. It sounds fancy, but it’s pretty simple. Plants located in petroleum-contaminated soil use their roots to absorb the contaminants. This is called stabilization. Then, depending on the plant, there are three different ways the pollutant is dealt with above ground, but all ways involve removing it from the soil. Take a look at this informative chart by Urban Omnibus if you’d like to learn about the process in more detail:

A Guide to Phytoremediation

While phytoremediation is one method of removing petroleum hydrocarbons from soil, it doesn’t work for every pollutant and with all plants. To help out hard working plants, see what you can do by taking a look at these easy tips for reducing land pollutions.

For those really tricky soil contamination emergencies, rely on experienced environmental companies like Westside Environmental to rid the soil of contaminants by using our state of the art negative air system. Call us today at: 201-472-1031 to learn more.

Where your Construction Aggregate Material goes

Crushed Stone Sales

Aggregate material is generally, gravel, sand, crushed concrete and recycled stone.
Some aggregates are mined, the ones produced by Westside Environmental are recycled from construction sites, building projects, and commercial businesses.

What Kinds of Projects Use Aggregate Material for Construction?

Construction & Demolition Waste

The major end markets for this recycled material are commercial construction, private home residential construction, and publicly-funded projects such as roads, bridges and other infrastructure improvements. Of these markets, public infrasture improvements require the most construction aggregate materials for repairing roads and building highways. Over 1.64 billion metric tons of these green materials were produced in just the first nine months of 2014. This is an increase of  8 percent compared to 2013. More construction sites recycle their materials during deconstruction then ever before. Many project managers use recycled aggregate to save money and go green.

Where to buy or remove Construction Aggregate

Westside Environmental

It’s great that you want to use recycled, environmentally friendly construction aggregate.
You can contact Westside Environmental to remove waste from your construction site, or you can purchase construction aggregate for your project. We offer both services.

Materials We Have Hauled

Disposal & Remediation
Petroleum Contaminated Soil
Non-Hazardous Contaminated Soil
Lead Contaminated Soil
PCB Window Caulking
Construction Waste
Demolition Waste
Non-Hazardous Waste
Vegatative Waste
Dry Industrial Waste (ID27)

Aggregates for Sale


Available for pickup or delivery

Hauling Capacity

We Use the Westside Environmental and Cardella Waste Green Fleet to haul any waste from your construction site. It’s cheaper, and better for the environment.