SHELL AND MOTIVA AGREE TO PAY $1.2 MILLION FINE
FOR CLEANUP DELAYS AT RIDGEWOOD SERVICE STATION
(07/05) TRENTON - A petroleum giant has agreed to pay a
$1.2 million fine for ignoring state orders to clean up pollution
from leaking underground fuel tanks at a Ridgewood service station,
Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Lisa P. Jackson
"Of the total penalty, $500,000 recoups the economic benefit
that Shell/Motiva reaped by evading DEP cleanup orders. Even though
the station eventually came into compliance, this settlement sends
a clear message to other polluters - if you delay, you will still
pay,'' Commissioner Jackson said.
The settlement stems from three distinct gasoline leaks from underground
storage tanks at the Shell service station at Route 17 and Franklin
Turnpike in the village of Ridgewood, Bergen County.
Shell Oil Co. owned the station from 1985 until 1998, when Houston-based
Motiva Enterprises LLC, a joint venture of Shell and Saudi Refining
Inc., assumed ownership.
Ridgewood first detected gasoline in its water in June 1987, and
shut down two municipal wells adjacent to the Shell station. DEP
traced the contamination to the station.
Shell installed pump-and-treat and vapor extraction systems to
deal with on-site contamination. Ridgewood installed an off-site
treatment system and placed the wells back into service.
In February 1995, Shell notified DEP of another discharge of 1,700
gallons of gasoline. Shell upgraded its on-site treatment systems.
The following year, DEP issued a Spill Act directive, ordering
the company to remove the discharge and provide enhanced treatment
for the municipal water supply.
The company failed to comply; DEP issued a Notice of Violation
against Shell on May 30, 1997.
In June 1998, Shell informed DEP of a third discharge of approximately
1,000 gallons. This time, the company shut down the pump-and-treat
system, arguing it was not designed to handle the contamination.
Between May 1997 and August 2000, DEP attempted to guide Shell
and Motiva into compliance but department directives were not followed.
On Aug. 30, 2000, DEP issued fine notices totaling $1.6 million.
After this, the company upgraded the on-site treatment systems
to meet DEP requirements. It also delineated the vertical and horizontal
extent of the contamination plume as the department required.
As an additional condition of the recent settlement, Shell and
Motiva have agreed to complete the remediation.