DEP SETTLES GROUND WATER
CLAIMS WITH VALERO REFINERY
Compensation for Natural Resource Damages
at Gloucester County Site
(06/01) TRENTON - Department of Environmental
Protection (DEP) Commissioner Bradley M. Campbell today announced
an agreement with Valero Refining Company to preserve four properties
in southern New Jersey totaling 615 acres as compensation to the
public for ground water pollution at its oil refinery in Greenwich.
"Preserving land parcels in South Jersey where ground water
is replenished rapidly will help to keep our future water resources
healthy," said Acting Governor Richard J. Codey. "Valero's
voluntary settlement demonstrates that our enforcement message is
Valero Refining Company will fund the acquisition of four properties
located in Winslow Township, Camden County (359.5 acres); East Greenwich
Township, Gloucester County (60.5 acres); Pennsville Township, Salem
County (130 acres); and, Lawrence Township, Cumberland County (65
acres). Valero also will pay the Department's assessment costs.
"New Jersey continues to secure restoration projects that
provide long-term protection of its ground water resources,"
said Commissioner Campbell. "We remain vigilant in our efforts
to not only clean up contamination from past industrial operations,
but also vindicate the public's right to compensation for losses
of our water resources."
The "resource-to-resource" form of compensation developed
by the state avoids costly litigation and instead focuses on restoration
and land preservation projects. DEP uses this method for companies
that voluntarily approach the state willing to settle natural resource
damage liability. In the resource-to-resource compensation model,
settling companies must protect an area of land with a good aquifer
recharge rate that is similar to the acreage of ground water polluted.
DEP's preferred voluntary settlement track has resulted in the
settlement of natural resource damages at 1,200 hazardous sites.
The total preserved wildlife habitat and aquifer recharge area is
more than 5,200 acres.
DEP is working with the company to remediate discharges of hazardous
substances to ground water at its Greenwich site that was impacted
by various spills and leaks during fuel processing activities.
The proposed NRD settlement with Valero appeared in the January
3 issue of the New Jersey Register and is subject to a 30-day public
Valero Refining Company is a Delaware corporation with principal
offices at 800 Billingsport Road in Greenwich (Paulsboro mailing
address). The natural resource injury covers 755 acres of petroleum/gasoline
Background on DEP Natural Resource Damage Program
Natural Resource Damage claims compensate the residents of New
Jersey for the injury and lost use of natural resources due to contamination.
Injuries can refer to both ecological injuries to wetlands, wildlife,
ground water or surface water and to human use injuries such as
the closure of a waterway to fishing, a beach to swimming or an
aquifer for use as drinking water supply.
In addition to protecting more than 5,200 acres of wildlife habitat
and aquifer recharge area, DEP and the Attorney General's Office
have recovered approximately $30.5 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 50 additional responsible parties representing about 500 sites
that seek to voluntarily resolve their liability for natural resource
NRD claims are separate from the costs associated with cleaning
up contamination. New Jersey's Spill Compensation and Control Act
makes any entity that has discharged hazardous substances onto the
land or into the waters of the state liable for both cleanup and
for natural resource injuries.