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Contact: Amy Cradic
(609) 984-1795

DEP Reaches Settlement with Quarry Operator for Water Pollution Violations

(03/80) TRENTON – The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) today announced that 3M Company, owner of the Belle Mead Quarry in Somerset County, has agreed to pay $99,120 for repeated stormwater runoff violations impacting local stream quality.

"Stormwater runoff is one of the greatest sources of water pollution in New Jersey and 3M Company's poor site management repeatedly contributed to this larger environmental problem," said DEP Commissioner Bradley M. Campbell. "We continue to work closely with 3M to address site management deficiencies and prevent future pollution occurrences."

The 3M Company's Belle Mead Quarry is located on County Road 601 in Montgomery and Hillsborough townships. Between August 2000 and October 2002, the DEP issued 3M Company 11 Notices of Violation for illegal stormwater discharges from the quarry, for its failure to monitor and report discharges as required by its permit at an authorized discharge outfall, and for pollutant discharge exceedances at a permitted outfall.

Based on DEP investigations and reports from the Montgomery Township Health Department, the department determined that 3M Company's illegal stormwater discharges impacted tributary waters located downstream of the quarry, including Back Brook, Roaring Brook and Crusers Brook. While the impact of the pollution discharges can not be quantified, the contamination caused visible water turbidity in the illegal runoff areas. A significant source of stormwater runoff contamination is onsite mineral fines (industrial residue) stockpiles associated with the facility's quarrying and rock crushing operations.

In addition to the fine, DEP's settlement agreement with 3M Company requires the facility to submit quarterly progress reports to the department and to take interim and permanent corrective actions to reduce the impact of the quarry activities on stormwater that exits the site. The corrective actions include:

  • Constructing a new stormwater retention basin in the quarry area;
  • Properly cleaning and maintaining permanent and temporary water basins;
  • Maintaining existing and installing additional silt fencing and hay bales for stormwater runoff prevention;
  • Conducting inspections of the basins, silt fencing and hay bales after significant rain events and, at a minimum, on a weekly basis;
  • Minimizing stormwater runoff from the quarry floor via traffic control restrictions, basin pumping or other best management practices to be determined;
  • Stabilizing the mineral fines stockpiles; and
  • Inspecting roadways and associated ditches and culverts on a bi-weekly basis.

Notices of Violation were issued for unpermitted discharges on: August 2, 2000, June 28, 2001, August 8, 2001, March 7, 2002, June 11, 2002, and October 17, 2002. A Notice of Violation was issued for 3M Company's failure to monitor and report in compliance with their DEP-issued permit on August 30, 2000. Notices of Violation were issued for permit limitation violations on: August 20, 2000, April 18, 2001, December 5, 2001, and June 24, 2002.

The Montgomery Township Health Department and the Sourland Regional Citizens' Planning Council assisted the DEP in reporting the 3M Company's illegal stormwater discharges.

A copy of the DEP's settlement agreement with the 3M Company is available upon request.

In an effort to reduce pollution levels in New Jersey's water resources and address stormwater runoff problems, DEP Commissioner Campbell has proposed new stormwater regulations. The proposed regulations would update the state's Stormwater Management Rules with an emphasis on new performance standards for ground water recharge. The rules would require maintaining 100 percent of the average annual groundwater recharge statewide, a major initiative toward mitigating against future droughts. In addition to the recharge standards, the regulations also stress water quality controls. Statewide, these rules require the implementation of Best Management Practices (BMPs) for development in order to reduce pollution runoff levels by 80 percent. These rules also provide the special protections needed for the state's high quality waters by requiring the protection of vegetated areas along waterways designated as Category One (C1) water resources.



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