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May 27, 2004

Contact: Fred Mumford
(609) 984-1795

DEP Collects $80,000 Penalty from Hercules Incorporated for Cleanup
State to Develop Investigation Plan for Simmonds Site to Move Cleanup

(04/61) TRENTON - The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) today announced that Hercules Incorporated paid an $80,000 penalty for delays in completing a full investigation and cleanup at its Simmonds Precision site located in Chester Township, Morris County. DEP is preparing an investigation plan for the Simmonds site that will identify all actions required to generate a protective cleanup, both of which Hercules must implement or face further enforcement action.

"This action compels Hercules to accelerate cleanup work at the Simmonds site due to the company's non-compliance with past DEP orders to remedy contamination problems," said Assistant Commissioner Joseph Seebode. "The company agreed to pay a penalty and conduct cleanup work following a specific schedule to address decades-old contamination at this former aircraft parts manufacturing plant."

Hercules posted a $3 million letter of credit to cover any future cleanup costs should it default on its obligations to finish remedial work required by DEP at the Simmonds site. Also, DEP is in settlement negotiations with Hercules to address the company's natural resource damage liability resulting from discharges that occurred at the Chester site.

This month, DEP authorized $84,000 to hire a contractor to develop a comprehensive plan and schedule for investigation of remaining contamination at the site. Hercules is required to reimburse the Department's costs to prepare the report and will have 30 calendar days to comment on the draft plan. The company then will be required to implement the remedial work. Otherwise, DEP will begin the investigation work using a portion of the funds set aside by Hercules.

Hercules first entered into an Administrative Consent Order in 1988 with DEP to conduct a remedial investigation and site cleanup. The ongoing non-compliance by Hercules involves its long-standing failure to submit technical documents of acceptable quality, which resulted in numerous deficiency letters and regulatory admonishments from 1997 to 2004.

On May 9, 2003, DEP first issued a demand for stipulated penalties to Hercules for cleanup delays and submission of deficient remedial documents related to the Simmonds site. DEP also terminated Hercules' active role in the investigation and remediation of the site on December 18, 2003. Hercules and DEP this month amended the 1988 order to resolve outstanding cleanup delay issues.

The Simmonds Precision site covers nine-acres and is bounded by the Black River Wildlife Management Area. The company manufactured electrical wiring harnesses for military and civilian aircraft until cessation of plant
activity in 1993. Contamination from the site has been found in nearby surface water bodies and a private well, which required the company to install a point-of-entry treatment system to provide a safe supply of potable water. Hercules installed a ground water treatment system in 1998 that remains operational. However, the system has failed to control the ongoing discharge of ground water contamination to the Black River Wildlife Management Area and adjacent Oakdale Creek. Various chlorinated solvents including trichloroethylene and tetrachloroethylene have been found in soil, ground water and sediment in wetlands. Metal contamination, including zinc and cadmium, have been detected in soils and sediment.



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