NJ DEP REACHES SETTLEMENT
AGREEMENT WITH PFIZER
FOR WASTEWATER MONITORING VIOLATIONS
TRENTON - New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) Commissioner
Bradley M. Campbell today announced that Pfizer, Inc., Morris County, was fined
$538,000 for failure to properly monitor wastewater discharged from its Parsippany
plant between 1992 and 1999. Pfizer voluntarily disclosed the violations discovered
as a result of an internal corporate audit.
pleased Pfizer acted quickly to voluntarily disclose the monitoring violations
and to correct the problem," said Commissioner Campbell. "While the
sanctions issued reflect the significant deterrence imposed on the state's ability
to safeguard water, they also take into consideration Pfizer's cooperation and
Between April 1, 1992 and May
31, 1999, Pfizer frequently monitored its effluent discharge when its industrial
wastewater component was not present. Pfizer's permit - as do all such permits
- requires sampling representative of the entire discharge, not just an element
of it to ensure that total contaminant levels do not exceed permissible limits.
The normal composition of Pfizer's discharge includes both sanitary and industrial
wastewater, which is collected and treated at the Township of Parsippany-Troy-Hill's
wastewater treatment facility.
Pfizer first disclosed the
possibility of improper monitoring in a letter to the DEP and the U.S. Environmental
Protection Agency on June 15, 2001, and advised that it would investigate the
matter further. On October 16, 2001, Pfizer met with the DEP and revealed that
the results of their investigation indicated that improper monitoring occurred.
Upon discovery of the violations, Pfizer immediately modified its operating procedures
and enhanced its monitoring program to ensure that proper monitoring is conducted
at all times. The settlement agreement for $538,000 was finalized today on August
The two Pfizer employees responsible for the improper
monitoring have permanently surrendered or not renewed their industrial wastewater
treatment operator licenses. One employee was dismissed and the second employee
has been reassigned to a non-regulatory compliance position.
to properly monitor wastewater discharge undermines the integrity of the department's
New Jersey Pollution Discharge Elimination System (NJPDES) permit program, which
is based in large part on self-monitoring and reporting by permittees. DEP can
not confirm that Pfizer was in compliance during the seven-year period when improper
monitoring occurred. However, Pfizer has a good history of compliance at the Parsippany
facility based on periods when proper sampling was conducted and confirmed by
the DEP's check sampling.