The remediation of the former New Jersey Zinc west plant in Palmerton has cleared its latest hurdle.

The state Department of Environmental Protection on Monday granted approval to Phase III Environmental of Lehighton for the beneficial use, controlled placement and monitoring of regulated fill at the 120-acre site along Route 248.

"The company addressed concerns the department detailed during our review of their application, including compliance with our regulated fill management policies and procedures for identifying sources of the fill material and ensuring it meets our criteria," said DEP Northeast Regional Director Michael Bedrin in a press release.

Contacted this morning, Mark Carmon, community relations coordinator, Department of Environmental Protection Northeast Regional Office, confirmed that the permit was granted.

"They were requesting a waiver for some of the levels of fill," Carmon said. "They agreed to meet all of our criteria for metals and for everything else contained in that general permit."

Contacted this morning, George Petrole, chief operating officer for Northface Development, LLC, Lehighton, declined to comment.

Together, Phase III Environmental and Northface Development plan to develop 27 parcels for office and other business space on the land and create thousands of high tech jobs.

Under state General Permit WMGR096, regulated fill will be used to meet site cleanup standards and allow for the redevelopment of this Brownfields site. The company will meet all DEP limits for metals and organic chemicals in the fill material.

Also, DEP has required the company to develop a site-wide grading plan to delineate the placement of the fill, which the company estimates will require an increase in overall elevation by 10 to 15 feet with the placement of four to six million tons of regulated fill material.

Phase III Environmental will work under an agreement with CBS Operations Inc. and Northface Development LLC to implement DEP's Act 2 Land Recycling Program standards and EPA's One Cleanup Program, which will include the necessary engineering controls for the placement of fill and capping, and conducting groundwater monitoring on the property.

The Carbon County Conservation District has approved the company's erosion and sedimentation control plan, and DEP has issued a stormwater control permit for the first phase of the project.

Their proposal indicates that it may take 10 or more years to develop the site using the regulated fill material and allow for the subsequent redevelopment of the property, construction of buildings and installation of utilities.

For information, visit www.depweb.state.pa.us.