$13.2 MILLION HATCO SITE CLEANUP AND LAND ACQUISITION SETTLEMENT
FOR WETLAND AND GROUND WATER CONTAMINATION
(05/47) Woodbridge -- Department of Environmental Protection
(DEP) Commissioner Bradley M. Campbell today announced approval
of a privately funded $13.2 million PCB-contaminated soil cleanup
at the Hatco site in Woodbridge Township. He also announced an
agreement to preserve a separate 34-acre land parcel to compensate
the state for injuries to natural resources.
"This agreement provides a clear plan for cleaning up chemical
contamination that has scarred this site for too long," said
Acting Governor Richard J. Codey. "Restoration projects to
preserve valuable open space and wetlands also are important to
protect water quality in the Raritan River watershed."
DEP is requiring a large-scale cleanup of PCB-contaminated soil
at the Hatco site, which was formerly owned by W.R. Grace. DEP
approved a site-wide remedy for PCBs that involves both capping
and off-site removal. The cleanup will cost the responsible parties
approximately $13.2 million. A private environmental remediation
company, Weston Inc., will conduct the cleanup using these funds
under an innovative agreement that places future liability for
the remedial project with Weston and ACE USA, an insurance firm.
"The Woodbridge community will be safer because this agreement
makes the cleanup of remaining contaminated soils at the Hatco
site a reality," said Commissioner Campbell. "This cleanup
and natural resource damage settlement with Hatco is another significant
step forward as we continue to reverse damage caused by decades
of uncontrolled pollution to our water supply."
"This agreement will ensure that the necessary expertise
and resources are employed to remove toxic PCBs from this site
so they will no longer endanger the health of area residents,"
said New Jersey Attorney General Peter C. Harvey. "We will
continue to work with DEP to compel responsible parties to both
clean up contamination that threatens our water quality and compensate
the residents of New Jersey for damaging their natural resources."
"Woodbridge is pleased with the state's tenacity in concluding
this landmark environmental settlement," said Woodbridge
Township Mayor Frank G. Pelzman. "We applaud the cooperation
among all parties that will now permit the cleanup to start."
DEP reached an agreement with Hatco Corporation and W.R. Grace
& Co.to resolve the companies' natural resource damage (NRD)
liability in connection with wetland and ground water contamination
at the former industrial site. The company agreed to conduct a
land acquisition project with the state rather than executing
a monetary settlement for the natural resource damages.
"We are pleased that the parties have been able to reach
an agreement for the remediation of the Hatco site and give particular
note to the efforts of DEP," said Alex Kaufman, President
and Chief Executive Officer of Hatco. "This agreement is
the result of a lot of hard work, during months of meetings and
negotiation sessions, by all the parties and, when approved by
the bankruptcy court handling W.R. Grace's case, will result in
the expeditious cleanup of the Hatco site and resolution of NRD
The property being acquired as part of the settlement is a 34-acre
parcel of land in Montgomery Township, which is a mix of wetland
and upland habitat. This land is within the Raritan drainage area,
as is the location of the contamination in Woodbridge Township.
The Montgomery property contains both meadow and forest communities,
with Rock Brook flowing along the rear of the property. D&R
Greenway Land Trust has a pending contract on this land and will
receive funding from the settling parties to acquire the property
as part of the state's settlement.
"Water quality is threatened from the headwaters to the
big rivers, and where water is concerned municipal boundaries
are meaningless - watershed boundaries matter," said Montgomery
Township Mayor Louise Wilson. "This acquisition will protect
water quality and critical woodland and meadow habitat in the
Sourlands, where the ecosystem is fragile and very much at risk.
"Permanent preservation of high quality environmental land
provides immediate and on-going benefits to the citizens of New
Jersey," said D&R Greenway's Director of Land Preservation,
Bill Rawlyk. "This acquisition represents a turning point
by creating a new model of funding for open space acquisitions
that supplements the traditional DEP Green Acres Program and SADC
In September 2004, DEP included the Hatco site as part of a Raritan
River initiative that requires specific cleanup work by responsible
parties at five contaminated sites along the river's lower section
to improve water quality. DEP worked with the Edison Wetlands
Association to identify the sites where cleanup work had lagged
"We view this announcement as a step in the right direction,"
said Robert Spiegel, Executive Director of the Edison Wetlands
Association. "Our organization will be vigilant in ensuring
that this site is cleaned up to levels that are protective of
human health and the environment, and that natural areas onsite
are fully restored."
The damages associated with the Hatco site include 3.46 acres
of contaminated wetland and a plume of ground water contamination
as large as 16 acres.
Natural resource damage program background
DEP and the Attorney General's Office have collected $26.4 million
in settlements for natural resource damages since 2002 involving
266 cases. The state is working with 95 additional parties representing
about 850 sites that seek to voluntarily resolve their liability
for natural resource damages.
DEP uses monies from natural resource damage settlements from
contaminated sites and oil spills for restoration projects and
land purchases in the same watershed or general area of where
the injuries occurred. Examples of restoration include: wetland
creation/enhancement, non-point pollution control projects, purchase
of aquifer recharge areas, research for restoration of endangered
species, and public education projects.
DEP assesses natural resource damages to compensate the residents
of New Jersey for injuries to natural resources that are held
in the public trust. Injuries can include both ecological injuries
such as damage to wetlands, wildlife, ground water or surface
water as well as public use injuries such as the closure of a
waterway to fishing, a beach to swimming or an aquifer to use
as a drinking water supply. New Jersey's Spill Compensation and
Control Act holds any entity that has discharged hazardous substances
onto the land or into the waters of the state liable for cleanup
and removal costs, as well as the cost of restoring or replacing
natural resources injured by the discharge.
Hatco site history
W. R. Grace & Co. (Grace) owned and operated the site from
1959 to 1978 as the Hatco Chemical Division. On August 21, 1978,
Grace sold the assets of the Hatco Chemical Division to (an entity
that became known as) Hatco Chemical Corporation. Hatco Chemical
Corporation changed its name to Hatco Corporation (Hatco) in 1986.
Since the late 1980s and pursuant to a 1992 administrative consent
order between DEP and Hatco, the Woodbridge site has undergone
significant investigation and interim emergency cleanups to address
environmental contamination with an associated cost of $5 million
undertaken by the responsible parties.
Grace and Hatco entered into an environmental liability transfer
with Weston and its insurer, ACE USA, to allow a cleanup of the
site to proceed and to avoid significant transaction costs and
delays. Grace and Hatco negotiated an agreement with Weston and
an environmental insurance policy with Weston and ACE USA where
Weston and ACE USA will accept responsibility for essentially
all historical environmental liability in exchange for the up-front
funding of the remediation and the purchase of the insurance policy.
Consequently, the liability transfer will result in a cleanup
by a nationally recognized environmental remediation company backed
by a multi-billion dollar insurance company that may otherwise
have cleanup significantly delayed by the bankruptcy filing of
Grace and possibly end up requiring public funding.