Efforts by Buckeye Pipe Line Co. to reimburse Hillsborough businesses and emergency responders after the December gas leak and cleanup are under way, but may be going slowly.
The company presented a check to Hillsborough Fire Chief Bruce Vatter with a donation during the Feb. 12 Township Committee meeting in consideration of the assistance local volunteer firefighters provided during the December repair, and company spokesman David Boone said the company will be reimbursing the police department for the added expense of officers providing assistance during the repairs also.
Boone also said the company is hoping to provide assistance to businesses in the area around New Amwell Road and Route 206 that were impacted, as well.
"We're in the process of squaring up with those folks, as well," Boone said.
Businesses reached by Hillsborough Patch said they've been contacted by either the company or township officials, who are encouraging the businesses to complete the forms necessary to obtain a reimbursement for any lost business or expenses incurred as the repairs were underway.
Peapack-Gladstone Bank, whose "front yard" was largely dug up during the repairs, is one of the businesses reporting contact from the township, but Marketing Director Denise Sanders said the bank didn't really need to follow up.
"We had no break in service, so we did not file a claim or anything," she said. "It didn't affect us."
Stores located across the street, in the Sunnyland Plaza Shopping Center, reported several days during the repairs when customers didn't know if the shops were open or if there was a way in through all of the equipment.
Some of the stores reported having made reports of how the repairs affected their business, but have not received settlements yet.
Boone said Buckeye will hire landscapers to repair the landscaping that was damaged during the digging for the pipeline, also.
And he said the company's environmental remediation department will be monitoring ground water for traces of benzene for some time—currently, no significant levels of benzene have been found in wells up to 1,000 feet from the location of the leak, Boone said.
So, as the pipeline repair is completed, the company's efforts at cleaning up the physical—and fiscal—damage are still ongoing.