NJ DEP CALLS FOR IMMEDIATE
CLOSING OF CHEMICAL COMPANY IN NEWARK
- New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection's (DEP) Commissioner Bradley
M. Campbell today announced that a complaint was filed in the Superior Court of
New Jersey calling for an immediate shut down of operations at Fairmount Chemical
Company, Inc. located in the city of Newark, Essex County. In addition to failing
to obtain required permits, Fairmount is violating clean air regulations by emitting
unknown amounts of hydrazine, a hazardous air pollutant.
recently released federal air toxics assessment that is based on emission inventories
revealed that long-term exposure to hydrazine in the city of Newark is estimated
to be 10 to 50 times above the level generally accepted as a significant cancer
risk. Fairmount is the only facility in Essex County known to be using hydrazine
as part of its facility operations. Long-term exposure to hydrazine - a carcinogen
- may cause damage to the liver, kidney, and reproductive organs.
are asking the court to take immediate precautionary action to protect Newark
residents," said Commissioner Campbell. "The department's repeated requests
for information from Fairmount have gone unanswered. Until we determine that there
is no health threat resulting from its operations, the facility must remain shut
On May 31, 2002, the National Air Toxics Assessment
(NATA) program released study results that alerted the DEP to a potentially high
concentration of hydrazine in Newark.
As the only facility
in Essex County known to be using hydrazine as part of its facility operations,
Fairmount Chemical Company was issued a DEP directive on June 14, 2002 to provide
information on its emissions and use of hydrazine and other hazard air pollutants
(HAP). Fairmount did not comply with the request. This information is essential
to the department's determination of what type and quantity of emissions is taking
place at the Fairmount facility and its impact on public health. On August 12,
2002, the department directed Fairmount to cease operations until the information
On August 16, 2002, the DEP inspected the
facility and determined that Fairmount was actively receiving hydrazine by tanker
truck. During a follow-up inspection on August 20, 2002, DEP inspectors witnessed
Fairmount Chemical operating a non-permitted hydrazine blending operation.
addition, Fairmount installed and in some cases operated storage tanks, blend
tanks and dryers that use hydrazine and other hazardous air pollutants without
obtaining air pollution control preconstruction permits and certificates to operate.
As a result of the DEP's air pollution permitting process, Fairmont may require
air pollution control technology and/or need to take pollution prevention measures.
can not afford to let industries that handle toxic chemicals in close proximity
to our communities languish in their compliance responsibilities," added
Campbell. "In cases like this that can potentially impact public health,
we don't have the luxury of time. The department must be proactive in its enforcement
efforts to ensure public safety."
In addition to shutting
down the facility and requiring Fairmount to submit the requested information
on its emissions, the DEP and the Office of the Attorney General seek a permanent
injunction to stop facility operations until pre-construction permits and operating
certificates are obtained. The department is also seeking the maximum statutory
penalties of $10,000 for each day that Fairmount was in non-compliance.
is a program within U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that estimates
the potential health risk of 32 of 33 hazardous air pollutants that the EPA has
identified as posing the highest threat to public health in the greatest number
of urban areas. The study is based on calculations of emissions from sources including
cars, trucks, factories and waste incinerators, as well as a computer modeling
effort to estimate the resulting concentrations of air toxics in the air around
Fairmount is a manufacturer of specialty organic chemicals,
including plastic additives and photographic chemicals. Its Newark facility has
a hydrazine blending operation that is a significant source of uncontrolled hydrazine