Dioxin: State Developments

May 24, 2017

New Jersey Officials Concerned Over Pompton Site

The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (“DEP”) reportedly is concerned that soil and fill with low levels of polychlorinated biphenyls (“PCBs”) and dioxin near three rivers could enter the area’s water supply.

Background

The abandoned 12-acre “Top Soil Depot” (“TSD”) site, located in Wayne Township, Passaic County, New Jersey, has been an ongoing coastal and land use enforcement matter since the late 1980s. The site involved 300,000 cubic yards of fill material – including approximately 40,000 cubic yards of kaofin, a paper manufacturing waste byproduct – stockpiled within approximately 10 acres of floodway near the confluence of the Pequannock and Ramapo Rivers, which form the Pompton River.

New Jersey authorities litigated these matters with TSD, culminating in a December 2008 judicial consent order (“JCO”). As provided in the JCO, the kaofin removal, which had begun in July 2007, was to continue for a 30-month period.

According to the DEP, progress was made until late 2009, when kaofin removal gradually stopped. Inspections during 2010 and early 2011 revealed that additional unauthorized fill (approximately 22,000 cubic yards) had been brought to the TSD site.

The matter went back to court, where the judge imposed sanctions until compliance was demonstrated. The DEP also obtained a court order on March 14, 2011 to halt further disposal activity at the site. The order also named 20 additional defendants – various haulers who had brought soil and solid waste materials to the TSD site over the previous 18 months.

A subsequent settlement required removal of 30,000 cubic yards of soil and solid waste.

Developments

Now, according to news reports, state officials are concerned that 15,000 cubic yards of soil and other matter that was supposed to have been removed has not been, and that it could enter the water supply.

The DEP and the New York State Attorney General’s Office reportedly are deciding what steps to take.

For further information, please contact Paul V. Majkowski, Lawrence S. Han, or your regular Rivkin Radler attorney.

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