MERCK, MOTIVA/SHELL EACH PAY STATE
OVER $2 MILLION FOR GROUND WATER CLAIMS
Compensation for Natural Resource Damages at Companies' Sites Statewide
(06/02) TRENTON -Department of Environmental
Protection (DEP) Commissioner Bradley M. Campbell today announced
separate agreements with Merck & Co., Inc. and Motiva Enterprises
LLC/Shell Oil Company to pay the state $2.4 million and $2.2 million
respectively as compensation to the public for ground water pollution
at four properties owned by the pharmaceutical company and at several
hundred of the energy companies’ service stations and terminals
in New Jersey.
DEP also announced separate settlements for 10 other industrial
sites where seven companies provided a combined $624,500 and 20
acres of land for aquifer recharge as compensation to the public
for both ground and surface water pollution.
"With more than 5,200 acres of quality aquifer recharge property
and wetlands preserved since 2002 and $35 million garnered for environmental
projects, New Jersey's natural resource damage program is leading
the nation and creating a legacy of strengthened water resource
protection," said Commissioner Campbell. "New Jersey's
residents will benefit from these monetary and land settlements
through cleaner water resources and more public habitat to enjoy."
Merck agreed to provide $2.38 million, donate 10 acres of land
adjacent to the Rahway River and fund a $30,000 restoration project
in the Passaic River watershed for contamination found at four of
the company's sites.
Motiva and Shell resolved their liability for ground water contamination
at their terminal facilities and about 400 service stations statewide
where underground storage tank leaks occurred by providing $2.2
million. In addition, Shell is providing a conservation easement
on 51 acres of land along the mouth of the Woodbridge River to
address potential sediment and wetland contamination from its Sewaren
DEP used a ground water injury damage formula when negotiating
both settlements voluntarily with Merck and Motiva/Shell.
DEP’s preferred voluntary settlement track has resulted in
the settlement of natural resource damages at more than 1,600 hazardous
sites since 2002. The total preserved wildlife habitat and aquifer
recharge area through a "resource-to-resource" form of
compensation developed by the state now stands at more than 5,200
acres. 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. In
addition, DEP and the Attorney General's Office have recovered approximately
$35 million since 2002. DEP also is working with about 50 additional
responsible parties representing about 100 sites that seek to voluntarily
resolve their liability for natural resource damages.
Merck's liability involves contaminated ground water at four sites
statewide. Merck is incorporated in the state of New Jersey, with
its principal offices at 1 Merck Drive, Whitehouse Station.
Merck's main site covers 210 acres and is located in Rahway and
Linden, Union County where the company develops and produces pharmaceutical
products. The facility began operations in 1903. Various units including
drum storage areas, tanks, an incinerator, wastewater pretreatment
units, and landfills have been used for the management of wastes
generated at the facility. The management of wastes at the facility
resulted in contamination of soils, ground water, surface waters,
and sediments. Cleanup is underway at this facility to remediate
soil and ground water contamination.
The Merck Range Road site is approximately 21 acres and located
in Linden, Union County. Some waste material from Merck's main site
was transferred to a two-acre landfill at the Range Road site. DEP
approved the final cleanup of this landfill area in 2004 after Merck
capped the site and completed ground water and surface water monitoring.
Merck's site in Hawthorne, Passaic County, the former Calgon/Metasol
facility, is comprised of nearly nine acres on the north bank of
the Passaic River. Production of both organic and inorganic mercury
compounds continued through 1969. Production of non-mercury compounds
continued until cessation of operations by Calgon Corp. in 1991.
Contamination stems from former mercury stills, areas of disposed
battery casings, underground storage tanks, transformers, various
process areas, drainage ditch, and concrete vaults. Soil remedial
and ground water monitoring is underway.
Merck's Branchburg Farm facility is a research site where fuel
oil releases were discovered along rock outcrops above Stony Brook.
From 1995 to 2004 Merck operated a recovery system to collect and
treat fuel oil released to subsurface. Further investigation is
underway to determine if any additional remedial work is required.
The settling parties that paid the $2.22 million for natural resource
injuries at the terminals and service station sites include Motiva
($1,768,065), Shell ($397,245), Pennzoil-Quaker State Company ($22,938)
and Jiffy Lube International, Inc. (28,550).
Motiva Enterprises LLC (Motiva), is a limited liability company
incorporated in the state of Delaware with its principal offices
at 700 Milam Street, Houston, Texas. Shell Oil Company is a corporation
incorporated in the state of Delaware with its principal office
address at 910 Louisiana Street, One Shell Plaza, Houston, Texas.
Pennzoil-Quaker State Company is a corporation incorporated in
the state of Delaware with its principal offices at 700 Milam Street,
Houston, Texas. Jiffy Lube International, Inc. is a corporation
incorporated in the state of Delaware with its principal offices
at 700 Milam Street, Houston, Texas.
DEP has been working with the companies to remediate discharges
of various fuel contaminants to ground water at their sites throughout
the state that were impacted by underground storage tank system
leaks, some of which resulted in completed cleanups.
The proposed NRD settlements with Merck and Shell/Motiva will
appear in the February 6, 2006 New Jersey Register and will be
subject to a 30-day public comment period.
A breakdown of the settlement amounts and brief descriptions of
the other 10 sites are listed below:
Eco Pump, South Plainfield, Middlesex County: $64,000
The Eco Pump site was used to manufacture rotary gear and other
pumps for use during liquid transfers. Eco Pump ceased operations
at the site in 1983. A leaking, 250-gallon underground storage
tank containing waste solvent and on site spills caused ground
water contamination of primarily chlorinated organic compounds.
Since 1993, Eagle Industries LLC has operated a treatment system
to clean up contaminated groundwater at the Eco Pump site. The
system uses air-stripping towers and activated carbon filtration
and was upgraded in 1998 to improve treatment efficiency and
to enhance the capture of contaminated ground water.
Ethicon, Inc., Bridgewater Township, Somerset County: $390,024
Ethicon, Inc., opened in 1955, is a large facility involved with
manufacturing surgical needles and sutures. Specific processes
included shaping, cleaning and polishing, plating and packaging.
Ground water contamination at the site stems from a spill of
Kinder Morgan Liquids Terminal, LLC, Cartaret Borough, Middlesex
On October 30, 2004, catastrophic failure of an above ground storage
tank at this terminal facility resulted in the release of approximately
457,714 gallons of 50 percent sodium hydroxide to the environment.
An unknown volume of this product was discharged to the Arthur
Kill waterway, which separates New Jersey and Staten Island, New
York. Sodium hydroxide is a strong alkaline compound that locally
decreases the acidity of water and substantially increases the
pH of the aquatic environment. This discharge resulted in an injury
to aquatic organisms, including a variety of finfish and shellfish,
and in the closure of a municipal fishing pier.
Northend Industrial Park, Borough of South River, Middlesex County:
Groundwater contamination at the Northend Industrial Park stems
from the site's use as a terra cotta manufacturing plant and for
companies involved with trailer storage, wooden pallet repairs,
and distribution of automotive parts, furniture and other products.
Areas of concern identified at the Northend site were abandoned
55-gallon drums and utility poles, spills of automotive fluids,
fill material associated with the terra cotta plant operation and
abandoned asphalt piles. Soils contaminated with total petroleum
hydrocarbons and volatile organic compounds were excavated and properly
disposed off site.
Litton Systems, Inc., Passaic City, Passaic County: $54,242
The Litton site was established as a conveyor equipment manufacturing
facility in the late 1890s. Bulk handling equipment for the mining
industry and a line of polyurethane-molded products were manufactured
at the facility until it closed in November of 1990. Discharges
of hazardous substances occurred at the Litton site during operations.
Sampling results showed the presence of petroleum hydrocarbons,
volatile organic compounds, base neutral compounds, cadmium and
lead in soil and ground water.
Reichhold, Inc., Elizabeth, Union County: $39,997 (includes 20
percent litigation assessment of $6,663)
The 17-acre Reichhold began production of resins and dyes in 1936.
Materials that were utilized in manufacturing processes at the
site include solvents and organo-metallic compounds. Operations
ceased in 1990. The primary contaminants identified in ground water
beneath the site are benzene, ethylbenzene, toluene, and xylene.
Reichhold, Inc., Newark, Essex County: $50,234 (includes 20 percent
litigation assessment of $8,372)
The 1.5-acre Reichhold site in Newark has been in operation since
the early 1900s for the manufacture of chemicals used in the coating
and printing industries. Site operations have ceased and all buildings
and structures were demolished in 1998 and 1999. Confirmed sources
of ground water contamination at this site include six underground
storage tanks in which leaded gas, diesel, fuel oil, and solvents
such as xylene, toluene, ethanol and butanol were stored. Several
additional on-site areas of concern are suspected to have contributed
to soil and ground water contamination at this site.
Lenox Inc., Ground water injuries at three sites in Atlantic County:
- Main Site, Galloway Township
- Mannheim Avenue Superfund Site, Galloway Township
- Delilah Road Landfill, Egg Harbor Township
Lenox will deed to state 20 acres of land in Galloway Township
that will remain undeveloped to provide aquifer recharge. Lenox
also will pay $7,000 in DEP oversight and survey costs.
Remedial actions are underway at Delilah Road Landfill where ground
water now meets all state ground water quality standards. The deletion
process from the National Priorities List for the Mannheim Avenue
Superfund site is underway, as ground water contamination is no
longer present. Both of these sites had minimal ground water contamination
in the past and Lenox is not the only responsible party for these
two sites. Lenox is providing five acres for natural resource damages
at each site. Lenox, a well know manufacturer of fine china, is
cleaning up ground water contamination at its main site in Galloway
Township. DEP accepted 10 acres for ground water contamination
found at this site as part of the settlement.
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.
DEP uses monies recovered 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.
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.