DEP FINES TOTOWA ASPHALT
COMPANY FOR FUEL SPILL IMPACTING PASSAIC RIVER
(06/12) TRENTON - Commissioner Lisa P.
Jackson today announced that the Department of Environmental Protection
fined Tilcon New York Inc., an asphalt company, $60,000 for spilling
heating oil into the Passaic River on February 5.
"Tilcon should have taken steps to stop the discharge of fuel
at their facility. Once it became apparent that there was contamination
in the river, Tilcon should have immediately started clean up,"
said Commissioner Jackson. "Instead, DEP learned of the spill
from other sources."
DEP responded immediately by deploying cleanup workers to contain
the discharge and prevent further contamination of the Passaic River.
The $60,000 penalty was assessed under the Spill Compensation and
Control Act (Spill Act) for failing to immediately notify the Department
of the spill and for failing to take immediate action to stop the
discharge. The Spill Act prohibits the discharge of a hazardous
substance except in compliance with a state or federal permit.
Tilcon was also cited under the Water Pollution Control Act for
discharging pollutants in the river. The law regulates the discharge
of pollutants to surface and groundwater.
An investigation revealed that a 10,000 gallon above ground storage
tank at Tilcon discharged fuel oil into a containment area, then
into a nearby storm drain, which later spread through a tributary
into the Passaic River. The sheen stretched for five miles, covering
a portion of the Passaic River from Totowa to Paterson.
DEP was part of a team of responders from local, county, and state
agencies that worked to contain the discharge. Cleanup crews were
hired by the Department to deploy booms in various locations along
the river, and to clean product from the river's shoreline. DEP
also supervised the efforts of cleanup crews to flush out all the
storm drains in the vicinity of the discharge. The cleanup lasted
10 days and was completed in mid-February.
Although drinking water was not impacted by the incident, the Passaic
Valley Water Commission shut down intakes from the affected portion
of the river as a precaution for 12 days.