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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 18, 2005

Contact: Fred Mumford
(609) 984-1795

DEP Directs General Electric and Atlantic Metals to Conduct Cleanup Along Rahway River
State Seeks Reimbursement of $7 Million for Past Cleanup Costs

(05/109) TRENTON -- The state Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) today directed General Electric Company, Hamilton Electronics Corporation and Atlantic Metal Products, Inc. to stop an ongoing release of contamination at two sites in Springfield Township that is polluting the Rahway River. DEP Commissioner Bradley M. Campbell also announced that the companies will be required to reimburse the state $7 million for past costs the state incurred when it paid to treat the City of Rahway’s drinking water supply, which was contaminated as a result of these companies’ past operations.

DEP directed General Electric Company, Hamilton Electronics Corporation and Atlantic Metal Products, Inc. to initiate DEP-approved interim remedial measures to prevent the discharge of hazardous substances at the sites from entering the Rahway River. The companies also must conduct long-term remedial investigations to determine the nature and extent of contamination resulting from discharges at and emanating from the sites, followed by any required cleanup work.

“We have put companies on notice that New Jersey will not tolerate cleanup delays any longer,” said Commissioner Campbell. “General Electric, Hamilton Electronics and Atlantic Metal Products will be held accountable for the pollution they’ve left behind and we’re directing them to act now to prevent further degradation of this important resource.”

In 1989, the City of Rahway detected the common cleaning solvent trichloroethylene (TCE) in the Rahway River at the intake of the city's drinking water supply at levels up to 10.5 parts per billion. New Jersey’s drinking water standard for TCE is one part per billion. With funding from the state Spill Fund, the City of Rahway installed a treatment system on its drinking water supply to remove this hazardous substance to ensure safe potable water for its residents. The system continues to operate today at a significant cost for operation and maintenance.

“Any effort on part of the state of New Jersey to stem the flow of pollution to the Rahway River can only help those residents who rely on this resource for drinking water and those who enjoy the natural heritage of the river,” said Dennis O. Miranda, executive director of the Rahway River Association.

Based on DEP sampling from 2000 through 2005, DEP concluded that the former General Electric Company and Atlantic Metal Products sites are a source of hazardous substances including TCE in the Rahway River that is contaminating the city's supply of drinking water. DEP ground water tests showed levels of TCE up to 20,000 parts per billion at the General Electric site and up to 1,600 parts per billion at the Atlantic Metal Products site.

The City of Rahway maintains a sampling program for the surface water intake from the Rahway River. Monthly sampling data since January 2005 revealed that TCE remains in the Rahway River at the intake for the City's drinking water supply at levels up to 4.8 parts per billion.

General Electric Company, Hamilton Electronics Corporation and Atlantic Metal Products, Inc. must reply to DEP regarding their decision to comply with the directive within 30 calendar days after receipt and execute an administrative consent order with the Department.

Following actions taken in September 2004 and April 2005 to address contaminated sites affecting water quality along the lower Raritan and lower Delaware rivers, DEP is planning a Rahway River initiative to identify additional sites that need increased oversight of responsible parties to complete both immediate and long-term, permanent cleanups. DEP will identify high priority sites that present the greatest risk to the Rahway River’s ecosystem.

Site Histories
The General Electric Company site is located at 99 Route 22 in a commercial and industrial area of Springfield Township. General Electric Company operated a metal-parts manufacturing facility at the location from 1951 through 1982. As part of the operations at the site, General Electric Company used hazardous substances including TCE in its manufacturing processes as a parts degreaser. In 1982, H.E.C. Holding Company purchased the site from General Electric Company and owned the site from 1982 through 1996. In 1996, H.E.C. Holding Co. L.L.C. purchased the site and is the current owner.

Hamilton Electronics Corporation operated a metal-parts manufacturing operation at the Site from 1982 through 1985. As part of the operations at the Site, Hamilton Electronics Corporation also used hazardous substances including TCE in their manufacturing process as a parts degreaser.

While the General Electric Company shipped 1,600 gallons of its spent TCE degreaser off-site from 1981 through 1982, the company's method of disposal prior to 1981 is unknown.

The Atlantic Metal Products, Inc. property is located at 21 Fadem Road in the same commercial and industrial area of Springfield Township as the General Electric site. Atlantic Metal Products, Inc. owned the property from 1963 through 1985, and operated a custom sheet metal manufacturing facility at the site from 1963 through February 2003. In 1985, R.P.B. Realty Company, LP and R.F.P. Realty Company, LP purchased the site from Atlantic Metal Products, Inc. and are the current owners.

The manufacturing operations at the Atlantic Metal Products site included cutting, grinding, machining, welding, pressing, etching and painting of fabricated sheet metal. A concrete degreasing pit at the site is reported to have once been the location of a degreasing tank and recovery still. The concrete degreasing pit contained a sump that collected overspill from the tank and degreasing operations and discharged to the Rahway Valley Sewage Authority. Atlantic Metal Products, Inc. used 1,1,1-trichloroethane and TCE for its parts degreasing operations at the site until approximately 1993. From May 1981 through January 1993, Atlantic Metal Products shipped a total of 2,924 gallons of hazardous substances including sludge degreaser waste off-site from facility operations.

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