DEP SECURES COMPENSATION
FOR NATURAL RESOURCE INJURIES AT FIVE SITES
(06/27) TRENTON -- Department of Environmental
Protection Commissioner Lisa P. Jackson today announced two separate
settlement agreements that require convenience-store giant 7-Eleven
Inc. and a Tennessee-based electrical components manufacturer to
compensate the people of New Jersey for ground water pollution at
five different sites.
"New Jersey's environment is inextricably linked to our quality
of life. When companies jeopardize our precious water supplies,
we will make sure they clean up the contamination and pay a price
for restoration and future protection of those natural resources,"
Commissioner Jackson said.
Under one settlement agreement, stemming from natural resource
injuries at a 7-Eleven Inc. property in Independence Township, Warren
County, the company will give the state 82 acres of predominantly
forested wetlands adjacent to the Pequest River in Warren County
to help protect water quality and wildlife habitat. The second agreement
requires Thomas & Betts Corp., headquartered in Memphis, to
pay $200,000 toward future state restoration projects as compensation
for ground water pollution at four properties in Morris and Union
From 1950 to 1988, several companies used approximately 100 acres
of the 277-acre property in Independence Township for manufacturing
various products including organic chemicals, tear gas, hair dye
and herbicide. From 1978 to 1988, 7-Eleven - then known as Southland
Corporation - produced specialty organic chemicals. 7-Eleven Inc.
is now performing cleanup work at the site that includes operating
a ground water treatment system.
In addition to deeding land to the state, 7-Eleven also must construct
a public parking area and an easement that will allow public access
to the property, which will be preserved as open space for a variety
of recreational activities. The DEP's Division of Parks and Forestry
will manage the property.
The DEP's settlement agreement with Thomas & Betts Corp. addresses
natural resource injuries at the following four sites:
- Thomas and Betts Corp. in Elizabeth City, Union County, operated
an electronics manufacturing facility from 1917 to 1997. Testing
at the site revealed trichloroethylene contamination in both soil
and ground water. The soil is being remediated by a soil vapor
- Diamond Communications Products Inc. in Garwood, Union County,
manufactured metal hardware products for telephone and cable television
construction from 1929 until 1999. The company received a no-further-action
letter from DEP in 2001. Discharges to a French drain led to ground
water contamination, including volatile organic compounds and
metals above standards. A redeveloper excavated metal-contaminated
areas to remove a deed notice on the site before building a planned
- Elastimold Division, Amerace Corp. in Washington Township, Morris
County, conducted metal working, stamping, rubber molding, assembly
and testing and minor printing from 1959 until 1999. Site contamination
included total petroleum hydrocarbons that were removed after
they polluted a tributary to the Musconetcong River. Also, tetrachloroethylene
that impacted ground water was among the volatile organic contaminants
found in soils at the site.
- Amerace Corporation in Butler, Morris County, operated a rubber
plant for many years and used a four-acre area of the site for
rubber refuse disposal during the 1940s and 1950s. Fill material
used there also was contaminated with metals including lead, zinc
and arsenic. Testing at the site found low-level metal contamination
in both the shallow and bedrock aquifers. As part of a commercial
redevelopment project, the site was successfully capped to prevent
exposure to any contaminants.
Natural Resource Damage claims compensate New Jersey residents
for the injury and lost use of natural resources because of contamination.
Injuries occur when contaminants enter natural resources, such as
wetlands, wildlife, ground water or surface water. Injuries also
result when the public's use and enjoyment of a natural resource
is impacted, 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
restoration of injured natural resource.