Settlement Clears Way for Continued Funding of New Jersey Superfund Cleanup
WASHINGTON—A multi-party settlement involving the federal government, the state of New Jersey and approximately 300 parties will ensure that clean-up efforts continue to be funded at the Combe Fill South Superfund Site Landfill (CFS) in Morris County, N.J., the Justice Department and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced today.
Among the many parties potentially responsible for contamination at the site are Honeywell International Inc., Warner-Lambert Company doing business as Pfizer, the Colgate-Palmolive Company as a successor to The Mennen Company, Mars Inc., and Waste Management.
Under terms of a consent decree lodged in the U.S. District Court in Newark, N.J., the defendants will pay at least $61 million in past costs with interest running from Dec. 8, 2007 with up to an additional $8 million as other municipal defendants join; pay more than $3.2 million for natural resource damage claims to be used for restoration projects; and purchase a $27 million annuity paying $900,000 a year for 30 years for the continued performance of the remedy.
The CFS site is contaminated with both chemical wastes and refuse as a result of its use as a sanitary landfill from the early 1950s until it was closed down in 1981. A 1986 EPA Record of Decision called for the containment of the waste through a landfill cap and continuous operation of a pump and treat facility. The cap and pump and treat facility have been in place for more than 10 years. The state is currently conducting a study of the deep aquifer to determine what additional work may be required.
"Today’s agreement is an excellent result that recovers money spent by federal and state agencies to clean up contamination at the site and provides funding for the remaining work for years to come," said Michael Guzman, Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General for the Justice Department’s Environment and Natural Resources Division. "This legal action, which has spanned more than 10 years, is an example of the Justice Department’s dedication to protecting the environment and taxpayer dollars while holding those responsible for the costs of cleanup."
"With this important settlement, we are recovering most of the money that EPA and the state spent to clean up this site," said Alan J. Steinberg, EPA Region 2 Administrator. "This is an example of Superfund working just as it should. We went forward with the cleanup while still pursuing those responsible for the contamination, with today’s successful result."
The CFS site is located in Chester and Washington Townships in Chester, N.J. Contaminants found in the ground and surface waters include benzene, ethylbenzene, toluene and chlorethane.
The consent decree, lodged in the U.S. District Court in Newark, New Jersey, is subject to a 30-day federal comment period and a statutory state comment period, as well as final court approval. The consent decree is available on the Justice Department Web site at www.usdoj.gov/enrd/Consent_Decrees.html.