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DEP Conducts Targeted Enforcement Strike in the City of Camden

(02/99) CAMDEN - Responding to citizen concerns and reinforcing his commitment to provide equal protection to New Jersey's urban communities, Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) Commissioner Bradley M. Campbell today announced results of an unprecedented, week-long environmental enforcement strike conducted in the city of Camden.

"Despite economic hardships that may be affecting Camden, residents have a right to benefit from environmental safeguards provided under the law," said Commissioner Campbell. "This enforcement strike will not only help correct illegal activities impacting the environment and local neighborhoods, but also send a clear reminder to the regulated community that we will not allow them to jeopardize the health and safety of local residents."

Working with county officials, the New Jersey State Police, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), DEP mobilized more than 70 inspectors targeting over 700 facilities to ensure city-wide compliance with laws addressing water quality, solid and hazardous waste, air pollution and illegal land use activities. The strike began October 3 and ended today.

As a result of the multi-media inspections, DEP and its county and federal counterparts issued 97 Notices of Violation for major offenses. The violations ranged from unregistered underground storage tanks and failure to install air monitoring and emissions equipment, to illegal treatment and storage of hazardous wastes and unpermitted stormwater discharge activities.

"This coordinated effort has already had a positive impact," Campbell added. "Many violators responded quickly to comply with our directive, and we've gained a broader awareness of the environmental challenges being faced by residents citywide."

In addition to inspecting known, permitted operations, DEP's coastal and land-use enforcement officers, conservation officers and park rangers toured the Delaware and Cooper rivers by boat to determine if unpermitted or illicit activities were occurring in waterfront development and tidelands areas, wetlands and areas adjoining the watersheds. Several citations for violating waterfront development statutes were issued.

More than 50 follow-up inspections are planned at local facilities based on findings from initial inspections.

Findings from the different environmental inspection areas such as air, land-use, water, and waste include the following:

Hazardous Waste:

The DEP hazardous waste program received information that CWS Industries was storing numerous containers of unidentified wastes. A DEP inspection revealed 2,000 to 3,000-gallons of waste plating solutions containing heavy metals, acids and cyanides- many of which were illegally stored onsite for several years. DEP issued the company Notices of Violation for illegal treatment, storage and disposal. They were also issued notices for container management violations and personnel training requirements. DEP has directed CWS to comply with all requirements by October 22, 2002. In addition, DEP's emergency response program issued a directive ordering CWS to label and store all containers of product/waste acc ording to local, state, and federal regulations. CWS was given until October 23, 2002, to comply with the Field Directive. In the event CWS fails to comply, an Administrative Order will be issued and the DEP will initiate an emergency removal action - thereby eliminating any potential threat to the surrounding residents, emergency response personnel and the environment.

The DEP's hazardous waste enforcement program targeted a large number of businesses that generate used oil, such as autobody shops, auto repair facilities, and scrap yards. Used oil and spill act violations were cited at 10 facilities. Violations included mismanagement of containers and tanks, labeling violations, and transportation issues. Several of these facilities had discharged used oil to the environment that resulted in a citation of spill act violations. At three facilities, DEP discovered unregistered storage tanks that will result in further investigations and potential penalties.

The hazardous waste enforcement program also conducted an inspection at Camden High School and Camden Vocational High School. Although only minor violations were observed, additional instruction on how to better manage disposal of hazardous waste is necessary. The DEP is scheduling follow-up visits to Camden area high schools to conduct compliance assistance inspections.

Air Compliance & Enforcement:

Based on 126 air compliance inspections, DEP found a total of 30 violations for failure to receive proper permits for equipment. Once these facilities obtain the proper permits, the DEP will have a better understanding of the total amount and type of pollutants being emitted from the various facilities in the Camden area. Out of the 126 inspections, 19 violations were issued for operating equipment improperly or for not monitoring and providing records in accordance with existing air permits. These violations may increase air pollution emissions from the improperly used equipment. As such, DEP is requiring the violating companies to take corrective actions immediately.

Water Quality:

The DEP water program inspectors targeted 12 scrap metal processing and motor vehicle dismantling facilities. Five of the twelve inspected facilities were issued a Notice of Violation for unpermitted discharges and were required to take corrective action by obtaining a permit requiring Best Management Practice controls.

Water inspectors also discovered two facilities lacking proper backflow prevention devices for potable water system protection. Without backflow preventors, non-potable water can flow into the potable water supply. Since one of these facilities was a hospital, the DEP is planning follow-up outreach to other hospitals and medical facilities located throughout the state.

Land Use

The Coastal and Land Use Enforcement Program conducted a review of all permit applications currently under review and/or issued by the Land Use Regulation program for sites located in Camden and along the Cooper and Delaware Rivers. Inspections found general compliance with pending and issued permits. Several citations for violating waterfront development statutes were issued, including the illegal stockpiling of materials within 100 feet of the mean high water line and the illegal abandonment of barges, steel pipes and fill along the shoreline.

Underground Storage Tanks

A joint Underground Storage Tank Inspection Program was conducted between the DEP and the EPA Region 2, which resulted in the following findings:

A total of 35 inspections were conducted. Of the 27 sites found with existing tanks, 24 were issued a DEP Notice of Violation and/or an EPA Field Citation for major compliance issues. Of these 24 sites, the tanks at five sites were "Red Tagged," which establishes a delivery ban to the tanks at those facilities. Observed discharges at two sites require the completion of an environmental investigation and follow up report to the DEP. The major identified violations at the 24 sites include; active sites with unregistered tanks; failure to perform release detection monitoring for tanks and/or pipe lines; failure to have and/or to test the corrosion protection systems; and the absence of no spill or overfill protection. (Of the five facilities where the tanks were red tagged two sites as of 10/9/02 are now in compliance and the red tags have been removed. It is anticipated that two more sites will be in compliance by 10/14/02 at which time the red tags will be removed.)

Lead-Based Paint

EPA conducted seven lead-based paint inspections. No major violations were found.



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