Sewer Operating Division investigation continues

Bob Hough, the director of Infrastructure and Operations, has been placed on administrative leave with pay as officials continue an investigation into alleged irregularities – including improper dumping – within Princeton’s Sewer Operating Division.

Princeton Town Administrator Marc Dashield made the announcement on June 12, and said it was made in connection with the on-going investigation into the failure of the Sewer Operating Division to abide by state regulations pertaining to proper maintenance of the River Road Convenience Center.

The River Road Convenience Center will be closed June 15 and June 17 because of the investigation, Dashield said.

The Mercer County Prosecutor’s Office has been called in to investigate, following allegations of improper dumping and improper use of town equipment and staff, according to Planet Princeton.

It has been alleged that several private contractors dumped dirt and asphalt at the River Road Convenience Center, and also used it as a source of cheap equipment and labor, according to Planet Princeton.

A driver admitted that he was dumping dirt at the River Road Convenience Center that had come from the town’s Mary Moss Playground on the corner of John and Lytle streets, according to Planet Princeton.

It is the contractor’s responsibility to get rid of the dirt, but several truckloads of dirt were dropped off in exchange for $75 in cash per load, according to Planet Princeton.

Dashield said the town’s Health Department, along with county and state environmental officials, had inspected the Sewer Operating Division site on River Road to determine if there were violations of environmental regulations.

Meanwhile, Princeton received a notice on June 11 from the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection that materials had been disposed of at the River Road Convenience Center without property approvals, Dashield said.

As a result of that notice, the town is attempting to hire a licensed site remediation specialist to advise on the necessary cleanup actions, Dashield said.

Also, the town is terminating its contract with ICUNJ, which is the contractor for the Spruce Street and Linden Lane road project, because of its alleged improper dumping of materials at the River Road site, Dashield said.

Princeton is exploring all avenues of holding contractors responsible for damages incurred by the town, Dashield said.