DEP Fines Hazardous Waste Facility for Water Pollution Violations Impacting the Elizabeth River
(02/119) TRENTON - The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) today announced that Cycle Chem, a hazardous waste storage facility in Elizabeth, Union County, was fined $50,000 for illegally discharging hazardous and non-hazardous pollutants into the Elizabeth River.
"Environmental compliance is an imperative especially for facilities like Cycle Chem that handle pollutants posing a potential public health risk," said DEP Commissioner Bradley M. Campbell. "Without strict enforcement of individual permitting requirements and environmental safeguards, Cycle Chem's violations may have been left unchecked and the affected water body vulnerable to further pollution."
Involved in the collection, temporary storage, testing, mixing and the bulking of chemical wastes for disposal or reclamation at off-site facilities, Cycle Chem was cited by the DEP for violations of New Jersey's Water Pollution Control Act, the facility's General Stormwater Permit and its Stormwater Pollution Prevention Plan.
Cycle Chem's General Industrial Stormwater Permit allows only the discharge of clean stormwater from the property that has not contacted any industrial source materials.
During a moderate rain event on March 20, 2002, DEP enforcement officers inspected the Cycle Chem facility and witnessed stormwater running off the property that had contacted and actively conveyed hazardous and non-hazardous pollutants to the Elizabeth River. The inspectors noted that drums of hazardous and non-hazardous materials stored at the site were exposed to the rain - with many sitting in standing water.
As part of a previous inspection of Cycle Chem on May 2, 2001, the DEP had noted a large amount of hazardous and non-hazardous waste materials stored outdoors of the facility where rainwater could contact and wash it off the property. In a letter dated June 8, 2001, Cycle Chem was required by the DEP to remove (and/or cover) the source materials, or completely cease all stormwater discharges from the affected areas. Cycle Chem's on-site drainage ditch, which normally empties into the Elizabeth River, can be closed off to contain all stormwater on the site where it can then be removed and properly disposed.
On October 7, 2002, the DEP issued an Administrative Order and Notice of Civil Administrative Penalty Assessment to Cycle Chem requiring the facility to cease the discharge of stormwater that has had any contact with industrial source material. Cycle Chem is currently in compliance with the DEP order and has requested an administrative hearing.
Due to the wide variety of chemicals handled by Cycle Chem and the undetermined length of time that stormwater violations occurred, the DEP is unable to assess the harm caused to the Elizabeth River Watershed or identify adverse impacts to human health.
New Jersey's stormwater permitting program relies primarily on pollution prevention through the development, implementation, and maintenance of Stormwater Pollution Prevention Plans. These plans stress the development of reasonable and cost effective Best Management Practices (BMPs) that eliminate or minimize the contact between source materials and stormwater.
NOTE: A copy of the DEP's Administrative Order and Notice of Civil Administrative Penalty Assessment that was issued to Cycle Chem is available upon request.