Contact: Amy Cradic (609) 984-1795
September 5, 2003
High Number of Regulated Industries Situated Near Paterson Neighborhoods Triggers Concern: DEP to Launch Compliance and Enforcement Effort
(03/124) TRENTON - Identifying a high number of regulated businesses located in close proximity to residential neighborhoods, New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) Commissioner Bradley M. Campbell today announced the launch of a two-phase compliance and enforcement effort in the city of Patterson, Passaic County, to help ensure inner-city residents equal protection under environmental laws.
"A concentrated outreach and enforcement effort in Paterson will help us achieve a broader awareness of the area's environmental challenges and potential impacts to its inner-city residents," said DEP Commissioner Campbell. "Over the next several months, we will direct resources and work to address citizen concerns, correct illegal activities, and provide training and guidance to businesses to foster long-term environmental compliance."
During the two-phase environmental compliance initiative, the DEP will meet and communicate with citizens and community groups to ensure that their concerns are considered and opportunities to improve public health and the environment are maximized. Local citizens are encouraged to contact the DEP, community groups, trade associations or the state or local chambers of commerce with environmental concerns. The DEP is working with these entities to identify problems of non-compliance and assist the widest number of regulated entities possible.
"This initiative is a call to action for all residents and neighborhood groups who can aid us in our efforts to end environmental violations impacting their quality of life," Commissioner Campbell added. "During a similar enforcement sweep in the city of Camden, we listened to the concerns of local residents and reminded the regulated community and area businesses that environmental compliance is a priority."
The initial stage of the compliance and enforcement effort begins in September 2003, focusing on community outreach and on providing assistance to the city's known and potentially regulated individuals, businesses and government operations. On Monday, September 8 at 9:00 a.m., the DEP is participating in the Greater Paterson Chamber of Commerce's "Bottom Line Business Breakfast Series" to discuss the Paterson compliance and enforcement effort with area businesses. The meeting is being held at La Neve's, 276 Belmont Avenue in Haledon.
The second phase will involve a large-scale inspection effort. Both efforts will be led by the DEP in partnership with the federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Passaic County Health Department and the Passaic Valley Sewerage Commission.
Areas of focus during the enforcement effort and issues of environmental concern include: air pollution, Community Right to Know, discharge prevention, hazardous waste, land use, lead and mercury contamination, refrigerant recovery, pesticides, solid waste, underground storage tanks and water pollution.
Any businesses with violations found during the enforcement phase of the initiative will be issued Notices of Violation and penalties where appropriate. The enforcement sweep will occur over the course of at least one full week in late 2003.
For more information, residents or businesses can contact the DEP at 609-984-3285. Information about the DEP compliance and enforcement effort can be accessed at www.nj.gov/dep/enforcement/paterson.html.
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