Attorney General, DEP Announce Settlement in Superfund Landfill Case
Agreement Means $20 million Available for Cleanup of 60-Acre Global Site
TRENTON -Attorney General Anne Milgram and Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Lisa P. Jackson announced today that the State has entered into a multi-million dollar settlement agreement that will result in total clean-up of the 60-acre Global Landfill Superfund site in Middlesex County.
Outlined in an Amended Consent Decree filed with the U.S. District Court in Trenton, the agreement involves 31 settling parties. The 31 parties were transporters and generators of hazardous waste, including waste haulers, municipalities, chemical and pharmaceutical firms and other industries whose wastes were deposited at Global landfill.
The settlement agreement calls for approximately $2 million in payments to the State by the settling parties to cover past pollution containment and site monitoring costs, as well as Natural Resource Damages. The agreement will also trigger release and allocation of approximately $20 million set aside in escrow accounts to clean up the landfill in Old Bridge Township near Cheesequake State Park.
“This settlement concludes many years of litigation involving multiple parties and provides a mechanism for resolving a long-standing environmental, public health and public safety threat,” said Attorney General Milgram.
“This is a hard won victory for the state and for the environment that will result in the cleanup of a Superfund site that has long been a blight on Old Bridge,” said Commissioner Jackson. “This agreement will result in a better environment for those who have had to live with this landfill in their midst for so long. In addition, adjacent tidal marshes and Cheesequake Creek will be protected, meaning cleaner water for boaters and anglers.”
Once a 30-day public comment period has expired and the U.S. District Court approves the Amended Consent Decree, the escrow funds will be released for use in cleaning up the Global property.
Under terms of the Amended Consent Decree, the 31 settling parties must pay the State $1.1 million in past costs incurred for containment and oversight activity at Global, and another $745,000 for Natural Resource Damages. In addition, the settling parties are responsible for putting up any additional money needed to remediate the Global site if funds already set aside are insufficient.
Located approximately one mile west of the Garden State Parkway, the Global Landfill began operating in 1968. For many years it accepted municipal, commercial and industrial wastes – including asbestos -- as well as septic sludge in accordance with its State license. The landfill was closed in 1984. Subsequent testing revealed that volatile organic compounds were seeping from the landfill into the wetlands. DEP also discovered 63 drums containing hazardous wastes buried on the site. Due to the presence of contaminated leachate and buried drums, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) added Global Landfill to the National Priorities List of Superfund sites in 1989.
Since the 1990s, DEP has been conducting pollution containment activity, as well as soil and water monitoring, at the landfill. In 1991, after conducting a closure study of Global, DEP and EPA signed a Record of Decision (ROD) that required stabilization of the landfill slopes and installation of a hazardous waste cap with landfill gas and leachate controls.
Studies conducted by DEP have shown that shallow ground water at Global is contaminated with volatile and semi-volatile organic compounds, pesticides and metals, but that these contaminants have not created a significant ecological impact on neighboring wetlands. Studies have also revealed that the deeper aquifer is contaminated with volatile and semi-volatile organic compounds and metals at one monitoring well location.
Based on these findings, EPA has required long-term monitoring of the shallow and deep aquifers, excavation of approximately 5,000 cubic yards of contaminated wetland sediments (with placement of the sediments under the landfill cap), and ecological monitoring of the wetlands. DEP is currently working with settling parties to design the landfill cap and landfill gas/leachate controls. The owner/operator of the landfill, the Global Reclamation Company, agreed to a cash-out settlement with DEP in 1992.
Recently retired Deputy Attorney General Frank X. Cardiello and current Deputy Attorney General Franklin L. Widmann of the Division of Law’s Cost Recovery and Natural Resource Damages Section handled the Global matter on behalf of the State.