One of the rock dams constructed on Spruce Run to help collect sludge.

In late July, Eastern Concrete Materials, Inc. discharged sludge from their quarry in Glen Gardner into the Spruce Run. The sludge impacted about 1.7 miles of the creek and traveled as far as the Spruce Run Reservoir.  The clean-up effort is continuing.  Spruce Run is a Category-1 Trout Production stream, which means water quality in the stream is supposed to be protected because the stream is critically important habitat.

Raritan Headwaters responded to the spill. Our staff is visiting Spruce Run regularly to monitor the clean-up, support local residents, and address our concerns with the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP).

Spruce Run immediately downstream of one of the rock dams. As you can see, the dams are only partially effective at stopping the sludge from going downstream.

The quarry, in coordination with DEP, has hired an outside contractor to remove the sludge from the stream and the reservoir. They built a series of temporary rock dams in Spruce Run.  The dams are intended to create pools where the sludge can settle.  The sludge is vacuumed out of the pools into a truck with a holding tank.  The sludge is then taken back to the quarry and dumped.

The clean-up is likely to be a lengthy process because of the large quantity of sludge discharged, the length of stream impacted, and the incredibly small size of the sludge particles.

DEP issued the quarry at least one Clean Water Act Notice of Violation for this incident. RHA’s goals are to ensure Spruce Run is returned to the same condition it was in before the discharge, to ensure that the quarry is held responsible for their actions, and to ensure that the quarry pays for the damage it caused to the natural resources of Spruce Run.  We will continue to post updates as more information becomes available.