Red Bank Community Garden closed due to environmental concerns

The Red Bank Community Garden on Marion Street, Red Bank, remains closed to its users for a second week as borough officials wait for the results of environmental tests.

The community garden was closed on Aug. 10 because of what officials said was an abundance of caution resulting from concerns of lead contamination in the soil.
Municipal officials were alerted to the concerns on Aug. 9.

They advised community garden members who grow produce at the site that access to the property was prohibited and that produce should not be harvested from the garden until further notice.

The possibility of soil contamination in the community garden was raised by a resident of Marion Street who did independent testing without the advance knowledge or consent of borough officials, according to a notice posted on Red Bank’s municipal website.

Officials did not identify the resident by name.

Officials said they cannot rely upon the third-party data to determine if there is lead contamination in the soil and if so, the scope or severity of the contamination.

They said they wanted to err on the side of safety to advise the public and restrict access until testing that has been sanctioned by Red Bank can be performed.

Borough officials met on Aug. 12 to review the information that had been received and to discuss a plan of action for testing, according to the website.

Borough Engineer Edward Hermann will order an expedited test for soil and produce samples. Results are expected within two weeks.

Until results are received, access to the garden will be restricted and members of the public are advised not to consume produce harvested from the garden.

Produce that has been harvested from the garden should be discarded, according to municipal officials.

Individuals who consumed produce from the community garden should consult with their physician about the potential for lead exposure and inquire about the necessity of a blood test, according to the website.

Borough officials said they have been in contact with the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection to review the situation.