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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 8, 2011

Contact: Lawrence Hajna (609) 292-2994
Lawrence Ragonese (609) 292-2994

DEP AGREEMENT REQUIRES DUPONT TO PAY $725,000 FINE, IMPLEMENT PLAN TO ADDRESS OPERATIONAL ISSUES AT CHAMBERS WORKS FACILITY

(11/P139) TRENTON - The Department of Environmental Protection has reached an agreement with E.I. DuPont De Nemours & Co. that requires the company to pay a fine of $725,000 and upgrade procedures for handling hazardous materials, and for routine and preventative maintenance at its Chambers Works facility in Salem County, Commissioner Bob Martin announced today.

The agreement reached through an Administrative Consent Order stems from DEP investigations of spills and handling problems at the plant, hazardous waste disposal landfill, drum and container storage areas, a rail siding, and an industrial wastewater treatment plant.

"Protection of our water, air and natural resources from pollution is of utmost importance to the Christie Administration," Commissioner Martin said. "This agreement reached with DuPont will ensure the Chambers Works facility meets the high standard of environmental protection that the DEP and community expects."

The Administrative Consent Order contains a compliance schedule requiring DuPont to:

  • Perform an evaluation of the site-wide and area specific procedures relating to the proper storage, identification and accumulation of waste and submit revised plans to address deficiencies;
  • Provide a listing of actions and preventative measures to be undertaken to prevent spills and discharges of hazardous waste and hazardous substance from occurring throughout the plant and submit revised plans to address deficiencies;
  • Remove remaining hazardous waste from the wastewater holding tank;
  • Perform various upgrades to the landfill and improve its maintenance and preventive measures plans;
  • Characterize, remove and dispose all waste rail cars from the siding area and upgrade rail car management and inventory controls;
  • Submit quarterly reports detailing compliance progress.

In 2006, DuPont agreed to upgrade equipment and pay $105,000 fine as a result of a DEP investigation that logged more than 220 incidents of spills and discharges at the plant.

Discharges varied in size and occurred as a result of faulty or inoperable pumps, leaking valves and gaskets, valves inadvertently left open, and cracks in containment structures and accidents.

The upgrades worked as intended but problems started arising again in mid-2008. The Administrative Consent Order addresses more than 60 violations resulting from subsequent DEP inspections of the facility, including:

  • Failing to properly mark drums of hazardous substances;
  • Failing to perform required inspections, failure to comply with time frames for shipping hazardous waste off-site;
  • Failing to maintain correct leachate levels at the hazardous waste landfill and in leachate control equipment;
  • Mishandling of drums, resulting in discharges of hazardous materials, including sulfuric acid;
  • Shipping drums contain hazardous waste residues of benzyl chloride to be recycled without a shipping manifest;
  • Failing to properly maintain impervious surfaces at a container storage area;
  • Failing to provide a containment system at the rail-car area;
  • Storing excessive hazardous waste sediments in a decommissioned tank at its wastewater treatment plant without obtaining permits or inspecting the tank;
  • Discharging 47 pounds of hazardous mixed phenylenediamines into the air due to a gasket failure;
  • Failing to determine whether solid waste being handled or in equipment was hazardous.

Chambers Works is located along the Delaware River on a site which traverses parts of Pennsville, Deepwater and Carneys Point. Since operations began at the turn of the 20th century, more than 1,200 chemicals have been developed at the facility. DuPont also operates Secure Environmental Treatment, which treats wastewater generated by DuPont as well as outside hazardous waste generators.

"DuPont needs to apply its corporate vision of sustainability and environmental stewardship to its day-to-day operations at the Chambers Works facility, which means making the necessary investments in equipment and personnel that are critical to protection of the environment, public health and the health of workers," said Wolf Skacel, Assistant Commissioner for Compliance and Enforcement.

For a copy of the Administrative Consent Order, visit: http://www.nj.gov/dep/docs/dupont_aco.pdf

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Last Updated: December 8, 2011