Timeline

(Morris Canal, 1920s)

1905
Hudson County’s first chromite ore processing plant begins production.  With its proximity to one of America’s busiest ports, Hudson County becomes a center for chromite ore processing because most of the world’s chrome reserves are located outside the United States.  During the next 70 years, two plants in Jersey City and one in Kearny will help meet the nation’s growing demand for chrome.

1920
Natural Products Refining Company opens a chromite ore processing plant on the banks of the Morris Canal, which today is near the intersection of the Hudson Bergen Light Rail tracks and Garfield Avenue. (See photo above.)

1954
PPG Industries acquires Natural Products Refining Company’s Garfield Avenue plant and continues processing chromite ore.

1963
PPG ceases production at the Garfield Avenue plant because the company is constructing a new chromite ore processing facility with more advanced technology in Texas.

1964
PPG sells the Garfield Avenue plant.  For many years prior to 1963, chromite ore processing residue was used as fill in construction projects.

1976
Chromite ore processing in Hudson County ends.  During its lifetime, Hudson County’s chrome industry generated approximately 2 million tons of residue, which was later determined to be a hazardous material.

1982
Jersey City and New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection begin identifying chromite ore processing residue sites.

1982-89
PPG installs a series of interim measures at the Garfield Avenue plant site to protect human health and the environment.

1986
PPG signs an administrative consent order with the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection.  Under the terms of the agreement, PPG agrees to fund studies of sites contaminated with chromite ore processing residue.

1990
PPG signs an administrative consent order with the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, accepting responsibility for the cleanup of 53 chromite ore processing residue sites.  Later PPG voluntarily accepts responsibility for eight more sites.  The company promptly begins cleanup work at residential sites.

1992
PPG completes the cleanup of all 37 residential sites. In addition, the company begins investigating non-residential sites, suspending operations in 1994 while the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection develops cleanup criteria for chromite ore processing residue at non-residential.

1995
Warehouse buildings constructed on former plant site at Garfield Avenue are abandoned.

1998
New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection announces cleanup criteria for chromite ore processing residue at non-residential sites, and PPG resumes work.

2001
Jersey City acquires the Garfield Avenue site when property owners fail to pay their tax obligations.  With ownership settled, PPG begins investigation the nature and extent of chromite ore processing residue contamination at the site.

2002
PPG reaches a voluntary agreement with the city to demolish the buildings at the Garfield Avenue site, making it easier for the company to determine the nature and extent of the chromite ore processing residue contamination.

2003
Lafayette Village, built on two former chromite ore processing residue sites cleaned up by PPG, wins a Phoenix Award from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for excellence in redevelopment of former industrial locations.

2004
At the Garfield Avenue site, PPG installs additional interim measures designed to provide further protection for human health and the environment.

2005
PPG resumes investigation of chromite ore processing residue contamination at the Garfield Avenue site after a two-year suspension while the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection reviews cleanup criteria for non-residential sites.

2006
PPG submits to the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection the results of its investigation into the nature and extent of chromite ore processing residue contamination at the Garfield Avenue site.  This report will serve as part of the basis for the final plan to clean up the site and prepare it for redevelopment.

2007
The Garfield Avenue Renewal Company, a wholly owned subsidiary of PPG, launches a community outreach center at 334 Martin Luther King Drive to assist in its communications with residents near the Garfield Avenue site and other interested parties.

2009
To accelerate the cleanup at 900 Garfield Ave., the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection and PPG, in conjunction with Jersey City, sign an agreement that establishes a five-year goal for cleaning up the remaining 14 sites that PPG accepted under a 1990 administrative consent order as well as six additional sites for which the source of chrome is unknown and no responsible party had been identified.