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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 11, 2004

Contact: Erin Phalon
(609) 984-1795

Octagon Process to Pay $100,000 to Settle Hazardous Waste Violations

(04/17) TRENTON - Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) Commissioner Bradley M. Campbell today announced that Octagon Process, Inc. has agreed to pay the state of New Jersey $100,000 in penalties to settle violations of state laws regulating the handling, storage and disposal of hazardous substances.

"Octagon Process created a significant threat to public health and the environment by hanging on to old, expired chemicals that had exceeded their shelf life and were no longer useable," said Commissioner Campbell. "The diligence of DEP's Hazardous Waste enforcement officials spared Octagon's neighbors from the threat of exposure to the toxins that this company stored in their community. I encourage companies with comparable problems to address this issue immediately."

Octagon Process, of Edgewater, operated as a chemical manufacturer since the early 1900s. During a routine compliance inspection in August 2002, DEP Hazardous Waste enforcement officials determined that the chemical storage procedures used by Octagon Process created the potential for a fire, explosion, or release of hazardous waste to the air, soil or surface waters, which could threaten human health or the environment.

Unmarked and improperly stored materials at the site including pesticides, volatile organic compounds and other toxic compounds could have seriously impacted the surrounding residential community in the event of a fire or a toxic release. Many of the containers used to store these chemicals were rusted and corroded, and bags of powders and crystals were opened and exposed. Laboratory bottles were broken and DEP officials noted spills inside the building. Local fire officials and hazardous materials teams assisted in the inspection process to ensure the safety of local residents should an incident occur.

DEP initiated immediate enforcement action by issuing a Notice of Violation to Octagon Process.

In order to comply with the Notice of Violation, Octagon Process quickly worked to contain and dispose of the waste. DEP closely monitored the removal of approximately 47,000 pounds of hazardous wastes and 55,000 pounds of non-hazardous wastes from the site to an approved hazardous waste treatment, storage and disposal facility (TSD). The company was determined to be in compliance with the Notice of Violation on October 18, 2002.

DEP subsequently issued a Notice of Civil Administrative Penalty Assessment for $175,000, which was later reduced to $100,000 during settlement negotiations.

The state of New Jersey and the federal government regulate the generation, handling, transport, storage and disposal of hazardous materials and waste under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA).

 

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