DRAFT RENEWAL OF DUPONT WATER DISCHARGE PERMIT
Treatment of VX Nerve
Agent from Army Excluded
(05/64) TRENTON -- Department of Environmental Protection
(DEP) Commissioner Bradley M. Campbell today released a draft
surface water discharge permit for the DuPont Chambers Works plant
in Salem County. The wastewater permit does not allow treatment
of a neutralized VX nerve agent byproduct, which is part of a
proposed plan by the U.S. Army and also under scrutiny by the
federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Centers for
Disease Control (CDC).
"New Jersey continues to oppose the United States Army's
proposal to transport nerve agent waste from the Newport Chemical
Depot in Indiana to DuPont's Chambers Works environmental treatment
facility in New Jersey," said Acting Governor Richard J.
Codey. "At my direction, DEP issued a new draft permit for
the facility that precludes acceptance of the nerve agent waste
unless and until the proposal is subject to rigorous and independent
In 2004, DuPont informed DEP that it was considering a proposal
to accept and treat hydrolysate, which is the neutralized VX nerve
agent byproduct, in its wastewater treatment plant. The VX nerve
agent resides in a stockpile at a U.S. Army base in Indiana, where
the neutralization has begun.
Acting Governor Codey today issued a letter to Secretary of the
United States Army Francis J. Harvey stating New Jersey's reasons
for opposing the transport of VX hydrolysate for treatment at
the DuPont facility.
"The Army's proposal is flawed, and should be abandoned
not revised," said Commissioner Campbell. "If it is
revised, DEP will conduct a thorough review of any new information
concerning the treatment of VX hydrolysate at the DuPont plant
and require a comprehensive public comment process."
The CDC and EPA issued a report on April 4, 2005 concerning the
VX hydrolysate proposal. However, CDC and EPA are still reviewing
details of a new treatability study removal technology developed
by DuPont. Because this treatability is an integral part of DuPont's
proposal and a full review has not been completed, it is premature
for DEP's draft wastewater discharge permit renewal to include
any requirements for VX hydrolysate. Further, DEP included specific
language in the draft permit renewal that states the acceptance
of VX hydrolysate is prohibited at this time. Any decision to
approve or deny such a plan would be subject to further public
notice and comment.
This proposed permit action serves to renew an existing New
Jersey Pollution Discharge Elimination System/Discharge to Surface
Water permit. DuPont submitted a renewal application on July 30,
2003 before the permit expired, which has been under DEP review.
The existing facility discharges wastewater to the Delaware River
from three outfalls. The first outfall discharges non-contact
cooling water, storm water and treated wastewater. The second
outfall discharges storm water from non-process areas of the facility
but is inactive as flows have been diverted to the wastewater
treatment plant. The third outfall discharges non-contact cooling
water from the facility's powerhouse. Effluent limitations and
monitoring requirements are also imposed at the end of the wastewater
treatment facility at an internal monitoring point just before
it combines with non-contact cooling water and storm water.
The draft permit renewal contains a number of limits and/or conditions
that are more stringent than the existing permit. A summary of
some of the conditions is as follows:
- Inclusion of comprehensive whole effluent toxicity monitoring
at the first outfall for two species to assess any acute and
chronic effects on aquatic life. An acute whole effluent toxicity
limit has been retained at the internal monitoring point to
assess any acute effects on one species where comprehensive
toxicity reduction requirements are required if the effluent
does not meet this standard.
- Imposition of water quality based effluent limits at the
first outfall for certain parameters to ensure that water quality
standards are attained for acute effects.
- More stringent limits at the internal monitoring point as
well as several new limits based on federal effluent limitation
- More comprehensive concentration-based reporting requirements
at the first outfall for several parameters.
The Chambers Works facility is located in Pennsville and Carneys
Point, Salem County and is a multi-product chemical manufacturing
plant. The wastewater treatment plant receives wastewater generated
from several manufacturing operations as well as commercial off-site
wastes. The facility also will soon be receiving partially treated
sanitary wastewater from two nearby publicly owned treatment works
for further treatment via the wastewater treatment plant. Treatment
at the wastewater treatment plant consists of steam stripper pretreatment,
peroxide oxidation pretreatment, sludge and solids dewatering,
metals precipitation, primary clarification, secondary and tertiary
biological powdered activated carbon, and pH control at various
points in the process.
Written comments or a request that DEP hold a public hearing
on the draft document may be submitted in writing to Attention:
Comments on Public Notice NJ0005100, Bureau of Point Source Permitting
Region 2, P.O. Box 029, Trenton, NJ 08625 by the close of the
public comment period scheduled for July 1, 2005.