Green Pond Road, Green Pond, Morris County, NJ


Take Rt. 23 north off Interstate 287 to Larue Road exit (about 8 mins), take Larue exit and make jughandle to Rt. 23 south bound lane. Make left onto southbound Rt. 23, then right on to Green Pond Road (Rt. 513). Now watch for dirt driveway entrance on the left hand side just before railroad tracks. Note: If you see a sign for Oak Ridge traveling north on Rt. 23, then you have gone too far!


The site is bounded by the Pequannock River on the north side. Approximately 1.5 miles south of the site, the Pequannock River flows into the Charlotteburg Reservoir, a water supply for the City of Newark. The site is open and wooded and the northern side is bounded by a escarpment that divides the upland area from the Pequannock River flood plain. The area is relatively flat with the exception of a series of man-made berms or embankments, which were adjacent to the pumping station.

The Appalachian Trail briefly follows a small dark-rock dike on the west side of Green Pond Mountain near the summit. (Wyckoff 1971:59)


This is the location of the Green Pond Oil Spill Site. The site facility was operated by New York Transit Company after the 1911 Trust Bust (Standard Oil Company was the holding company). The building was operated as a crude oil pumping station which was active from 1881 to 1920, at which time the facility was torn down. Historical records indicate operations incorporated large bottomless breakout tanks to maintain pressure and keep the oil moving within the pipeline. Over the years, oil seeped into the ground, contaminating the groundwater. During periods of high groundwater levels some of the oil would make its way into the nearby river.

The former pumping station was part of the first major oil pipeline in the United States that transferred crude oil from Olean, NY to Bayonne, NJ. The first 6-inch line from Olean, NY to Bayonne, NJ was laid in 1881 and spanned a distance of 315 miles; the second 6-inch line was laid in 1882; the third in 1884; and finally, the fourth one in the late 1880s, making the total capacity of the system over 50,000 barrels a day.

The intent was to run the line as straight as the landscape allowed without making any attempts to avoid river crossings and mountain ranges. In New York, the line ran due east from Olean through Cattaraugus, Allegany, Chemung, Tioga, Broome, Deleware, Sullivan, and Orange counties, before dipping south into the remaining three counties and finally crossing the New Jersey state line at Unionville. Once in New Jersey, it ran northeasterly through Sussex, Morris, Passaic, Bergen, and Hudson counties, then down to Bayonne.

Pumping Stations: The pipeline contained eleven efficiently constructed pumping stations along the way, each one approximately 28 miles apart from the last. The significant NY pumping stations were in Olean, Wellsville, Cameron Mills, West Junction, Catatonk, Osborne Hollow, and Hancock. The NJ stations were located in Newfoundland, Saddle River, and Bayonne.

The stations were equipped with duplicate boilers, engines, and pumps so that in the event of a breakdown, the oil would continue to flow without interruption. The boiler houses contained seven 80-horsepower steam boilers. There were gauges to record the line pressure and the number of barrels that ran through each station.

Newfoundland Pumping Station: The pumping station most nearby and directly responsible for the Green Pond oil spill was the Newfoundland, NJ station which is located just east of the Green Pond Road.

Constructed in 1885, this station was situated alongside a railroad so that coal needed to fire the station's six boilers was always readily available.

Daily operations at the station were run with great care and organization. Each day, the boilers were tended by firemen, the oil tanks were measured, and the coal was weighed.

In 1920, due to increasing concern over possible oil leakage from the pipeline passing through the Pequannock Watershed area, the pipe line was taken up and the Newfoundland pumping station no longer used.

Spill Chronology:

Although most of the accidents along the pipeline occurred on the stretch of pipe which crossed the Hudson River, there were isolated incidences in other locations along the line as well.

One Spring, a fleet of Erie canal boats were forced to drag anchor due to moving ice, thus breaking the pipe line and releasing hundreds of barrels of oil into the river. When a fireman on a nearby tug boat dropped a shovel of live coals overboard to see if the residue was oil, it lead to a massive fire, destroying canal boats and a large warehouse on the riverbank.

Another incident on the Hudson occurred during Admiral Dewey's famous homecoming parade when the captain of a visiting German warship was warned not to anchor near the pipe line. Stubbornly refusing to adhere, the captain did as he pleased and his ship's anchor caught and broke the pipeline. Greenish oil rained all over the ship and his crew.

On May 24, 1921, the pipe line had been responsible for the largest oil fire on the Hudson River crossing. It began as a captain's gig backfired and drew sparks which ignited a coating of oil that had leaked from the line. The fire spread and reached the historical Civil War ship, Granite State, which had been docked close by at the 97th Street pier. The famous historical structure burned to the water's edge.

U.S. EPA Involvement:

On February 12, 1996, U.S. EPA Region II was notified by the NJ Department of Environmental Protection (NJ DEP) of an oil sheen extending along the north side of the Pequannock River, just north of Green Pond. Prior to the initial EPA visit, the City of Newark Water Authority had test pits excavated directly along the river floodplain, in addition to installing four 6-inch diameter, PVC recovery wells. Finally, after conducting a walkover of the site, and due to the potential threat to the public water supply, the EPA initiated oil spill containment and removal under the Oil Pollution Act of 1990.

March 1996:

Hydrogeologic and geophysical investigations were completed in order to define the aerial extent of the subsurface product plume, to assess the extent of groundwater contamination, and to establish groundwater flow conditions. Forty-three shallow soil borings were drilled and equipped with temporary piezometers. Soil, groundwater, and product samples were collected and analyzed.

A geophysical survey was performed to determine if segments of pipeline containing oil were still in the ground.

Recent Activities and Results:

In August 1998, a product recovery system consisting of a 30-foot deep, 6-inch diameter recovery well and a groundwater injection gallery 150 feet upgradient of the extraction well, were installed. In addition, a monitoring network made up of fifteen 20- to 25- foot deep, two-inch diameter monitor wells have been installed to fully define the thickness and movement of the oil layer.

A two-phase pump recovers oil and water separately from the extraction well. The product is then pumped to an on-site storage tank and the untreated groundwater is reinjected.

Fluid levels, groundwater, and oil recovery throughout the winter for such data as depth to the oil and water layer, river elevation, and groundwater and product recovery rates are being measured twice weekly.

A groundwater and oil recovery model to determine both the flow and recovery rates of each, and to help evaluate the need for additional extraction and injection is being developed. Subsequently, an additional recovery system will be installed, if needed.

Stream bank stabilization and anti-erosion devices (bio logs) were installed by the OSC in Autumn 1998.

Initial response by the City of Newark removed several inches of contaminated soil from over one acre's worth of land. A revegetation and planting scheme was formulated by the NRCS and implemented in the Spring 1999 consisting of mostly woody wetland species to simulate the wetland type on the opposite shore. Herbaceous and grass species were planted on the coir logs at the river edge. Species and survivability has been monitored since the initial planting. Thus far, better than 90% survival has been observed.

Loosestrife control is to be initiated this spring with the introduction of beetles, supplied by the state of New Jersey.


Dr. William F. Standaert and John Medallis

May 12, 2001 Green Pond Oil Spill Site and vicinity, Rockaway Township, Morris Co., N.J.
Torrey Botanical Society trip. With Royal Nadeau (leader).
Nomenclature follows Gleason & Cronquist (1991). Common names from various sources.
var. ... = unspecified variety. (Vars. listed in Gleason & Cronquist do not match Kartesz's interpretation.)
F = Flowering specimen(s) found. [P.] Planted.
Fr = Fruiting specimen(s) found. [E.] Escaped from cultivation.

List I - Spill site

Including cemetery, parking area, and southwest side of entrance road. R = Revegetation area, Pequannock River floodplain.

Acer platanoides [P.?/E.] Norway Maple common Fr
Acer rubrum Red Maple few Fr
Acer saccharum var. saccharum Sugar Maple some
Amelanchier arborea Serviceberry, Shadbush few im Fr
Betula lenta Black Birch few
Betula populifolia Gray Birch few
Fraxinus americana White Ash common (1 - R?) 5/12/01 past F
Pinus strobus Eastern White Pine few FR
Populus grandidentata Large-toothed Aspen 2, railroad edge
Prunus serotina Wild Black Cherry some
Quercus alba White Oak some 5/12/01
Quercus palustris Pin Oak few
Quercus rubra Red Oak few
Salix sp. Willow 1
Sassafras albidum Sassafras 1 5/12/01

Alnus serrulata Smooth Alder few - R
Aronia arbutifolia [P.] Red Chokeberry some - R 5/12/01
Berberis thunbergii [E.] Japanese Barberry few 5/12/01
Cornus amomum var. amomum [P.] Knob-styled Dogwood 2 - R
Cornus sericea Red-osier Dogwood few - R
Corylus americana American Hazel 1
Ilex verticillata var. ... [P.] Winterberry 1 - R
Lonicera morrowii [E.] Honeysuckle some 5/12/01
Prunus virginiana var. virginiana Choke Cherry some 5/12/01
Rhus typhina Staghorn Sumac 1
Rosa multiflora Multiflora Rose some
Rubus occidentalis Black Raspberry few
Rubus sp. Blackberry few
Salix sp. (cinerea?) [P.] Gray Willow? some - R 5/12/01 past F
Sambucus canadensis var. ...Common Elder few
Sorbus aucuparia [E.] European Mountain-ash 1 seedling
Spiraea alba var. latifolia [P.?] Meadowsweet some - R
Vaccinium corymbosum Highbush Blueberry 1 - R, few elsewhere 5/12/01
Viburnum lentago Sheepberry, Nannyberry 1 5/12/01
Viburnum prunifolium Black-haw few 5/12/01

Calystegia sepium Hedge False Bindweed 1 - R
Celastrus orbiculatus [E.] Oriental Bittersweet 1
Clematis virginiana Virgin's Bower common - R
Cuscuta gronovii Dodder (ID checked carefully) 1 patch - R old Fr
Dioscorea villosa var. villosa Wild Yam 1 - R
Smilax herbacea var. herbacea Carrion-flower 1, cemetery
Toxicodendron radicans var. radicans Poison-ivy common
Vitis labrusca Fox Grape 1 - R, few elsewhere

Achillea millefolium ssp. lanulosa Yarrow few
Alisma sp. (probably subcordatum) Water-plantain few - R
Alliaria petiolata Garlic-mustard some
Aralia nudicaulis Wild Sarsaparilla few 5/12/01near
Arctium minus Common Burdock few
Arisaema triphyllum var. triphyllum Jack-in-the-pulpit few - R, few elsewhere 5/12/01
Artemisia vulgaris Mugwort common
Aster divaricatus var. divaricatus Aster some
Barbarea vulgaris Winter Cress few - R, some elsewhere 5/12/01
Brassica rapa Field Mustard few, entrance road 5/12/01, im Fr
Capsella bursa-pastoris Shepherd's Purse 1 5/12/01, im Fr
Centaurea maculosa Spotted Knapweed common
Cirsium arvense var. ... Canada Thistle 1
Convallaria majalis [E.] Lily of the Valley 2 patches 5/12/01
Daucus carota Wild Carrot, Queen Anne's Lace few
Erythronium americanum Trout-lily, Fawn-l. some 5/12/01 past
Eupatorium perfoliatum var. perfoliatum Boneset 1 - R
Eupatorium sp. Joe-Pye Weed few - R
Euthamia graminifolia var. nuttallii Flat-topped Goldenrod some
Fragaria virginiana Wild Strawberry some 5/12/01
Galium asprellum Rough Bedstraw few
Galium mollugo var. ... Bedstraw some 5/12/01 near
Geranium maculatum Wild Geranium 1 - R 5/12/01
Geum sp. Avens few - R
Heuchera americana Alum-root 1
Impatiens capensis Orange Touch-me-not, Jewel-weed few - R
Iris versicolor [P.?] Northern Blue Flag few - R
Lamium purpureum [E.] Dead-nettle 2 patches 5/12/01
Lechea sp. (mucronata?) Pinweed few, along railroad edge
Lotus corniculatus Birdsfoot Trefoil few small patches
Lysimachia ciliata Fringed Loosestrife common -R
Lysimachia quadrifolia Whorled Loosestrife few
Lythrum salicaria Purple Loosestrife some - R
Maianthemum canadense var. ...Canada Mayflower common 5/12/01
Matricaria matricarioides Pineapple-weed few, parking area
Oenothera biennis var. biennis Evening-primrose some
Penstemon digitalis Beard-tongue 1 - R
Plantago lanceolata English Plantain few
Plantago major Common Plantain few
Polygala paucifolia Fringed Polygala few, 2 sites 5/12/01
Polygonatum pubescens Solomon's Seal some 5/12/01
Polygonum sagittatum Arrow-leaved Tearthumb some - R
Potentilla canadensis Running Cinquefoil (Dry, open areas) some 5/12/01
Potentilla recta Sulphur Cinquefoil 2 - R
Ranunculus abortivus var. ... Small-flowered Crowfoot 1 - R, some elsewhere 5/12/01
Ranunculus hispidus var. nitidus Hispid Buttercup, Swamp B. some - R 5/12/01
Rumex crispus Curly Dock few
Rumex obtusifolius Bitter Dock 1
Solidago caesia Blue-stem Goldenrod some
Solidago juncea Early Goldenrod few
Symplocarpus foetidus Skunk-cabbage some - R
Taraxacum officinale Common Dandelion some 5/12/01 F,Fr
Thalictrum pubescens Tall Meadow-rue few - R
Trifolium pratense Red Clover few
Trifolium repens White Clover few
Typha latifolia Broad-leaved Cat-tail 1 small patch - R
Veratrum viride [P.?] False Hellebore few - R
Verbascum thapsus Common Mullein few
Verbena hastata Vervain some - R
Veronica persica Persian Speedwell 1 small patch 5/12/01
Viola cucullata Blue Marsh Violet some - R 5/12/01
Viola sororia Dooryard Violet few 5/12/01

Juncus effusus (var. ?) Rush some - R
Luzula multiflora Wood-rush few 5/12/01 F, Fr

Carex pensylvanica var. pensylvanica Sedge some 5/12/01
Carex stricta Tussock Sedge some - R 5/12/01
Carex vulpinoidea var. vulpinoidea Sedge common - R 5/12/01
Carex sp. (Laxiflora group) Sedge 1 clump 5/12/01
Carex sp. (Ovales group)Sedge 2 clumps - R 5/12/01
Eleocharis sp. Spike-rush (Very young plants) 1 patch - R

Anthoxanthum odoratum Sweet Vernal Grass some 5/12/01
Dactylis glomerata Orchard Grass some 5/12/01near
Elymus canadensis var. canadensis Canadian Wild Rye 1 patch - R
Panicum clandestinum Deer-tongue, Panic-grass some - R
Poa alsodes Grove Bluegrass few, 1 site 5/12/01
Poa annua Annual Bluegrass few 5/12/01
Poa pratensis Kentucky Bluegrass some 5/12/01

Ferns & fern allies
Athyrium filix-femina var. michauxii Northern Lady Fern some
Dryopteris carthusiana Spinulose Wood Fern 2
Dryopteris intermedia Evergreen Wood Fern few, 1 site
Dryopteris marginalis Marginal Wood Fern 2
Onoclea sensibilis Sensitive Fern some - R
Osmunda cinnamomea Cinnamon Fern few
Polystichum acrostichoides Christmas Fern some
Thelypteris noveboracensis New York Fern some

List II - Additional species seen on private land near spill site
(Northeast side of entrance road, field, and adjoining woods)

Catalpa speciosa [P./E.] Northern Catalpa 2 old Fr
Picea abies [C.] Norway Spruce few; im Fr
Pinus nigra [C.] Austrian Pine 1
Platanus occidentalis Sycamore few

Cornus racemosa Northern Swamp Dogwood some
Ribes sp. (sativum?) [E.?] Garden Currant, Red C.? 2
Rubus sp. Dewberry some
Sedum sp. (purpureum [=S. telephium]?) [E.] Live-forever 2 clumps

Euphorbia cyparissias Cypress Spurge common 5/12/01
Hieracium piloselloides Glaucous King-devil few
Linaria vulgaris Butter-and-eggs few
Ranunculus bulbosus Bulbous Buttercup 1 5/12/01
Rumex acetosella Sheep Sorrel, Red S. few 5/12/01

Andropogon virginicus var. virginicus Broom-sedge few
Festuca rubra Fescue common 5/12/01

List III - Additional species seen by Standaert on private land near spill site (Around nearby buildings)

Juglans nigra Black Walnut 2
Elaeagnus umbellata [E.] Autumn-olive few 5/12/01near
Leonurus cardiaca [E.] Motherwort 1
Veronica serpyllifolia var. serpyllifolia Thyme-leaved Speedwell 1 5/12/01