DEP SETTLES MAJOR NATURAL RESOURCE DAMAGE CLAIM WITH DUPONT
Compensation for Groundwater Contamination at Eight Sites Statewide
(05/97) OLD BRIDGE -- In one of the largest
natural resource damage settlements in state history, Department
of Environmental Protection (DEP) Commissioner Bradley M. Campbell
today announced an innovative agreement with E.I. DuPont de Nemours
and Company (DuPont) to compensate the public for
injuries to groundwater at eight hazardous sites in New Jersey.
The settlement includes preservation of 1,875 acres of land, planting
of 3,000 trees in urban areas, payment of $500,000 to the state
for water restoration projects and construction of a boat ramp
along the Salem River. The preserved land is in Cape May, Gloucester,
Middlesex, Passaic and Salem counties.
This settlement exemplifies a new paradigm for companies
to resolve their natural resource damage liabilities in New Jersey,
said Acting Governor Richard J. Codey. Long-standing damage
claims are translating directly into permanent conservation of
land and water resources, as well as expanded public access to
The resource-to-resource form of compensation developed
by the state avoids costly litigation and complex, time-consuming
monetary valuation of natural resource injuries by focusing on
restoration and land preservation projects. DEP used this method
after DuPont approached the state willing to settle its NRD liability
for contaminating 2,400 acres of groundwater. In the resource-to-resource
compensation model, DuPont had to protect an equivalent area of
land with a high aquifer recharge rate. Since DuPont only offered
1,875 acres as compensation, DEP required additional environmental
projects to make up for the acreage difference.
The DuPont settlement represents the largest in-kind compensation
package ever obtained for damages to the states ground water
resources, said Commissioner Campbell. New Jersey
is the only state in the nation systematically pursuing natural
resource damage claims, and this settlement illustrates our strong
preference for on-the-ground restoration rather than cash recoveries.
DEPs voluntary settlement track has resulted in the settlement
of natural resource damages at 360 hazardous sites. The DuPont
settlement brings the total of preserved wildlife habitat and
aquifer recharge area to more than 4,000 acres.
"This agreement underscores DuPont's continuing commitment
to work in cooperation with the public sector to resolve environmental
responsibilities related to our historical manufacturing operations
and represents a significant success for both the environment
and citizens of New Jersey," said A. Dwight Bedsole, director
of DuPont's Corporate Remediation Group.
DEP is overseeing ground water testing and cleanup work by DuPont
at all eight contaminated sites, which are either presently or
formerly owned by the company.
This is a major step in restoring the publics interest
in natural resources, from which they have been restricted for
many years said NY/NJ Baykeeper Andy Wilner. The public
is the owner and beneficiary of these natural resources and the
DEP, as Trustee, represents our interest. We applaud the commissioner
and the Departments NRD program for this for resource to
The settlement, which resolves natural resource damage liability
for groundwater contamination at all eight sites, requires DuPont
to place conservation easements on four undeveloped, uncontaminated
properties and donate to the Department two undeveloped, uncontaminated
properties that are in the same watershed as the contaminated
sites (see settlement map). The lands preserved by conservation
easement eventually will be transferred to DEP or DEP-approved
land conservation organizations.
This settlement will help our environment heal and will
bring long-term protection and benefits to our communities as
a whole, said Delaware Riverkeeper Maya van Rossum.
The Pompton Lakes parcels (73 acres), in and adjacent to the
Highlands, have been owned by DuPont since 1902 and will be transferred
to DEP and added to Ramapo State Forest. These lands are heavily
forested, provide excellent wildlife habitat and exhibit some
of the highest aquifer recharge in the region. They also will
now be open to the public for recreation.
The Duhernal parcel (63 acres) is now jointly owned by DuPont,
Hercules, Inc. and the Borough of Sayreville. The parcel is now
part of a larger forested area that recharges the aquifer used
by Sayreville and surrounding Middlesex County communities as
drinking water. Much of the property is comprised of uplands that
could be developed if sold to a private entity as development
The two Repauno parcels (435 acres) are predominantly forested
wetlands and emergent freshwater marsh adjacent to the Delaware
River. Approximately 100 acres of this land recharges groundwater.
The 955 acres comprising the Salem Creek parcels are a mixture
of open waters and wetlands and adjacent forested uplands. These
parcels provide excellent fish and wildlife habitat, but recreational
opportunities are limited due to restricted access. To remedy
the access limitations, DuPont will construct a 15-feet wide boat
ramp with an access road and parking in Mannington Township as
part of the settlement. The boat ramp will provide safe and unrestricted
access to recreational opportunities.
DuPont also will contribute $500,000 toward the acquisition of
350 acres of undeveloped, forested property in Cape May County.
The area is under heavy development pressure and protecting this
land is critical to maintaining water supplies in Cape May County,
as it serves as aquifer recharge for the Wildwood well field.
The parcel also contains valuable wildlife habitat, serving as
a critical refuge for migratory birds.
Another component of the settlement calls for DuPont to provide
$1.8 million for urban shade tree plantings in the cities and
towns of the Arthur Kill and Passaic watersheds.
DEP will use the remaining $500,000 to restore wetland habitat
or purchase aquifer recharge areas.
In addition to protecting more than 4,000 acres of wildlife habitat
and aquifer recharge area, DEP and the Attorney Generals
Office have recovered approximately $29 million since 2002. DEP
uses this money to restore wetlands and endangered species habitat,
increase public access to natural resources, and protect and manage
resources injured by oil spills and hazardous waste sites. DEP
also is working with 95 additional responsible parties representing
about 850 sites that seek to voluntarily resolve their liability
for natural resource damages.