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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 17, 2006

Contact: Darlene Yuhas (609) 984-1795
Elaine Makatura (609) 292-2994

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 counties.

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 extraction system.
  • 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 residential/commercial project.
  • 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.

 

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Last Updated: April 17, 2006