Contact: Amy Cradic (609) 984-1795
September 24, 2003
DEP to Address More Than 4,000 Potential Claims for Natural Resource Damages Statewide
Commissioner Campbell Orders Passaic River Restoration: Parties Responsible for Pollution Must Assess and Restore Natural Resource Injuries
(03/131) NEWARK - Working to recover compensation on behalf of the citizens of New Jersey for the lost use of natural resources caused by industrial pollution, Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) Commissioner Bradley M. Campbell today announced a large-scale directive to address more than 4,000 potential claims for natural resource damages statewide. In addition, Commissioner Campbell today ordered 66 responsible parties to assess and restore natural resource injuries to the Passaic River caused by 18 contaminated sites within its watershed.
"New Jersey's environment, quality of life and economy suffer every time we lose the benefit and use of natural resources to contamination," said Governor James E. McGreevey. "It is unfair to New Jersey's residents and environmentally conscientious businesses to tolerate any damage to natural resources caused by polluters. Those responsible simply must be held accountable."
Under Governor McGreevey's leadership, the DEP has demonstrated substantial success in addressing natural resource damage (NRD) claims. During the first year of the Administration, NRD recoveries exceeded the total for the six prior years combined. Commissioner Campbell's newly signed directive outlines an accelerated process needed to pursue more than 4,000 outstanding and potential NRD claims.
"While we have aggressively pursued compensation for natural resource damages from polluters, only a small percentage of the larger universe of existing claims has been addressed," said Commissioner Campbell. "An accelerated effort is needed to ensure that the statute of limitations for outstanding claims does not expire and result in the loss of the public's right to compensation."
Commissioner Campbell's Passaic River directive calls for 66 companies to identify natural resource injuries in the Lower Passaic River watershed and determine the extent of the injuries in order to properly address needed restoration projects. In addition, the department has directed responsible parties to initiate an interim restoration of natural resources, focusing on the ecological and economic services that the river provided prior to being injured. These services include, but are not limited to, recreational and commercial fishing, wetlands, sediment functions and services, boat access points and increased costs to commerce and the maritime industry due to dredging of contaminated sediments. (A complete list of the responsible parties and sites is attached.)
"The Lower Passaic River is a prime example of resource degradation at its worst," said Commissioner Campbell. "New Jersey has an opportunity to recapture the ecological and recreational value of the Passaic River, but only through aggressive natural resource restoration efforts."
The waters and sediments of the Lower Passaic River watershed are contaminated with hazardous substances including dioxin, PCBs, DDT, heavy metals and polyaromatic hydrocarbons, which persist in the environment long after the initial discharge. These contaminants also accumulate in the ecological food chain in the environment. As a result, both the DEP and the Department of Health and Senior Services have issued public consumption advisories due to mercury, dioxin and PCB contamination in fish, and have prohibited anyone to eat or harvest fish or shellfish from the Passaic River. In addition to a recreational and commercial fishing ban, the river does not support recreational swimming.
"We are committed to working with the Department of Environmental Protection to pursue natural resource damage claims on behalf of the citizens of New Jersey," said Attorney General Peter C. Harvey. "We will pursue every available legal remedy to collect damages from those responsible for environmental injury to the State and to restore valuable natural resources like the Passaic River."
The responsible parties have 45 calendar days upon the receipt of individual DEP directives to respond to the department and execute a single administrative consent order that provides assurance that the assessment and restoration actions will be performed in a timely and proper fashion.
If any responsible party named in the DEP directive fails to comply, the DEP will implement an assessment of the damages using public funds. Subsequently, the DEP may file suit against uncooperative parties to seek reimbursement and damages (including treble damages) for all costs the state assumes in implementing the assessment.
Natural resource damage is the dollar value of the total restoration that is necessary to compensate the residents of New Jersey for the injury to natural resources. Injuries can be both ecological injuries to wetlands, wildlife, ground water or surface water and human use injuries such as the closure of a waterway to fishing, a beach to swimming or an aquifer to drinking water supply. In addition, restoration may include compensation for the natural resource services lost from the beginning of the injury through the full recovery of the resource. Groundwater injuries are calculated with a formula that estimates the volume of contaminated groundwater, the value of the water and duration of the injury to arrive at a settlement amount. New Jersey's Spill Compensation and Control Act requires any entity that has discharged hazardous substances onto the land or into the waters of the state is liable for cleanup and removal costs, as well as the cost of restoring or replacing natural resources injured by the discharge.
The Passaic River, covering parts of northeastern New Jersey and southeastern New York, drains almost 935 square miles and is the second largest river in New Jersey, stretching approximately 85 miles from the Bernardsville Mountains and emptying into the Newark Bay. The Lower Passaic River, from the Dundee Dam in Paterson to the mouth of the river at Newark Bay, drains a watershed of approximately 170 square miles. There are five major tributaries to the one-mile stretch of the Lower Passaic River; Third River, Saddle River, Second River, Frank's Creek and Lawyer's Creek. The sites targeted for assessment and restoration are within the 17 miles of the Lower Passaic River from the Dundee Dam in Paterson downstream to and including its confluence with Newark Bay.
A copy of both NRD directives are available on the DEP website at http://www.nj.gov/dep/newsrel/. A complete list of the Passaic River responsible parties and sites is attached.
Passaic River Directive: Responsible Parties and Sites
1. The Ashland Chemical Company Site - 221 Foundry Street, Newark City, Essex County Responsible Party: Ashland Inc.
2. The Hilton Davis Site - 120 Lister Avenue, Newark City, Essex County Responsible Parties: Thomasset Colors, Inc.; Hilton Davis Chemical Company; Sterling Winthrop, Inc.; Freedom Chemical Company; 360 North Pastoria Environmental Corporation; Eastman Kodak Company; Drum Service of Newark, Inc.; H.D. Acquisition Corporation; Noveon Hilton Davis Inc.; SDI Divestiture Corporation; STWB Inc.; PMC Global, Inc.; Plastics Manufacturing Corporation; SmithKline Beecham Corporation; and Bayer Corporation.
3. The Benjamin Moore & Company Site - 134 Lister Ave, Newark City, Essex County Responsible Party: Benjamin Moore & Company;
4. The Diamond Alkali Site - 80 Lister Avenue, Newark City, Essex County Responsible Parties: Diamond Shamrock Chemicals Company; Diamond Alkali Company; Diamond Shamrock Corporation; Maxus Energy Corporation; Occidental Electrochemicals Corporation; Occidental Petroleum Corporation; Occidental Chemical Corporation; Chemical Land Holdings, Inc.; Tierra Solution Incorporated; Tierra Solutions, Inc.; and Oxy-Diamond Alkali Corporation.
The Pitt-Consol Chemical Company Site - 191 Doremus Avenue, Newark City, Essex County Responsible Parties: E.I. du Pont de Nemours and Company and the Pitt-Consol Chemical Company.
The Lucent Technologies Site - 100 Central Avenue, Kearny Town, Hudson County Responsible Parties: Lucent Technologies, Inc.; AT&T Corporation; and RTC Properties, Inc..
The Monsanto Company Site - Pennsylvania Avenue, Kearny Town, Hudson County Responsible Party Monsanto Company and Motor Carrier Services Corporation.
The Public Service Electric and Gas Company Essex Site - 155 Raymond Boulevard, Newark City, Essex County. Responsible Parties: Public Service Electric and Gas Company and Public Service Enterprise Group, Inc.
The Public Service Electric and Gas Harrison Site - Frank E. Rogers Boulevard South (S 4th St), Harrison Town, Hudson County Responsible Parties: Public Service Electric and Gas Company and Public Service Enterprise Group, Inc.The Sherwin Williams Company Site - Program Identification No. 015023
The Sherwin Williams Company Site - 60 Lister Avenue, Newark City, Essex County Responsible Party: Sherwin Williams Company.
11. American Modern Metals Corporation Site - 65 Passaic Avenue, Kearny Town, Hudson County. Responsible Parties: American Modern Metals Corporation; DiLorenzo Properties Company; DiLorenzo Properties, L.P.; Marshall Clark Manufacturing Corporation; Kearny Industrial Associates, L.P.; and S&A Realty Corporation.
12. The Atlantic Richfield Site - (ARCO) 1111 Delancey Street, Newark City, Essex County Responsible Parties: Atlantic Richfield Company and Amerada Hess Corporation;
13: The Franklin Plastics Site - 113 Passaic Avenue, Kearny Town, Hudson County Responsibilities Parties: Franklin Plastics Corporation; Franklin-Burlington Plastics, Inc.; and Spartech Corporation.
14. The Stanley Works Site - 140 Chapel Street, Newark City, Essex County Responsible Party: Stanley Works Corporation.
15. The Safety-Kleen Envirosystems Company Site (McKesson) - 600 Doremus Avenue, Newark City, Essex County Responsible Parties: Safety-Kleen Envirosystems Company; Bristol Myers-Squibb; Propane Power Corporation; Wilson Five Corporation; and Apollo Development and Land Corporation.
16. The Napp Technologies Site - 199 Main Street, Lodi Borough, Bergen County (Saddle River) Responsible Parties: Purdue Pharma Technologies, Inc. and Nappwood Land Corporation.
17. The Hexcel Site - 205 Main Street, Lodi Borough, Bergen County (Saddle River) Responsible Parties: Hexcel Corporation and Fine Organics Corporation.
18. The Getty Newark Terminal Site - 86 Doremus Avenue, Newark City, Essex County Responsible Parties: Chevron Texaco Corporation; Getty Petroleum Corporation; Getty Realty Group; Texaco Inc.; Texaco Refining and Marketing Inc.; and Power Test of New Jersey, Inc.
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