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NORTHVALE, NJ-Work is progressing on the 88-unit Rio Vista Greens–an age-restricted adult residentail community–here following a major environmental cleanup at the site. The cleanup, performed by East Brunswick-based Whitman, remediated soil and groundwater contamination that resulted from leaking underground storage tanks.

The six-acre parcel, which had a brush with fame when it stood in for the fictional town of Stuckeyville, OH for the sitcom “Ed”, was once used as a sports complex and featured a bowling alley, basketball courts and an indoor tennis facility. In addition, the previous owner operated a land development and construction business on the site and kept 2,000-gallon gasoline, diesel and waste oil storage tanks underground. The tanks eventually leaked benzene and other contaminants into the soil and groundwater, prompting Rio Vista–the site’s eventual purchaser and developer of Rio Vista Greens–to bring in Whitman for the cleanup.

When completed, Rio Vista Greens will feature 88 apartment and townhouse-style condominium units, a three-story clubhouse and a pool. The property is opposite the 18-hole Rockleigh Golf Course, a short drive from the George Washington Bridge, the Palisades Interstate Park System and the Hudson River. Rio Vista did not return GlobeSt.com calls by deadline.

“Bringing in an environmental consultant at the outset of the project helped us to incorporate the remediation plan with the design, saving a lot of time and money, as well as potential headaches,” says Rio Vista CEO John Mavroudis in a company statement. “We had a hands-on team with a vast amount of experience and the ability to help us identify real environmental problems and concerns and create innovative solutions to help redevelop this site.”

According to Barry Skoultchi, president of Whitman, the company faced a challenge when it came to removing the gas storage tanks, which were buried between eight and 10 feet below the groundwater table. “The geology of the area was an issue,” says Skoultchi in a statement. “It’s what we call running sand, and it can be very unstable.” He also cites the fact that Whitman was up against an “aggressive construction schedule” as a challenge. Rio Vista was eager for the remediation to be completed so the company could break ground on the development.

“The bottom line is, we did the project on time and on budget and received an unrestricted, no further action letter from the Department of Environmental Protection,” says Skoultchi. The state of New Jersey also helped out, by providing assistance and financial support through the Brownfield Reimbursement project. Although Skoultchi could not share many details of the financial support the state gave the project, he did say that the developer is receiving a percentage of sales tax paid on building materials used to construct the project to reimburse them for some of the remediation cost. He estimates the figure to be about $1 million in state aid.

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