City of Vineland Requests Pure Earth Site Case from New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection

Posted:
UPDATED Friday, December 11th, 2015 at 3:34p.m.
VINELAND – The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) has received its second letter from City of Vineland attorneys concerning the Pure Earth (PER) site.
The letter was sent to DEP on Wednesday, December 9th and requests that the DEP refer the PER site case in Vineland back to the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for further action.
The Pure Earth site is on the location of a former hazardous waste treatment facility which, according to an Expanded Site Inspection Report completed in 2014 by the EPA Region 2 Assessment Team, scored a 70.77. This score is above the 28.5 minimum required for placement on the National Priorities List however the DEP’s Division of Solid and Hazardous Waste confirmed that no funding would be available for remediation of the site.
Attorneys for the City of Vineland sent the first letter to DEP on Thursday, October 22nd after the EPA’s recommendation was made on Wednesday, September 9th. The recommendation was made as a result of the city receiving further information from the EPA on-scene coordinator Paul Kahn. Kahn notified the DEP that the EPA had a bioremediation plan and available funds to remediate the site that would address the soil piles, as well as the 20,000 gallons of remaining waste oil sludge.
The following is a portion of the City of Vineland’s letter to the DEP:
Pursuant to N.J.S.A.2A:35A-4(a), any person, including any political subdivision of the State, may commence a civil action in a court of competent jurisdiction against any other person, including the State, alleged to be in violation of any statute, regulation or ordinance which is designed to prevent or minimize pollution, impairment, or destruction of the environment. The action may be for injunctive or other equitable relief to compel compliance with or to assess civil penalties for the violation of New Jersey's environmental laws. The action may be commenced upon an allegation that a person is in violation, either continuously or intermittently, and that there is a likelihood that the violation will occur in the future. Moreover, pursuant to N.J.S.A.2A:35A-4(b), any person may commence a civil action in a court of competent jurisdiction for declaratory and equitable relief against any other person for the protection of the environment, or the interest of the public therein, from pollution, impairment, or destruction.
In addition, pursuant to N.J.S.A.2A:35A-6, a court of competent jurisdiction may grant temporary and permanent equitable relief including the imposition of such conditions as may be necessary to protect the environment. Furthermore, pursuant to N.J.S.A.2A:35A-10(a), in any action under this Act, the court may award the prevailing party reasonable attorneys' fees and costs.
For more information about the DEP, visit their website at http://www.nj.gov/dep/.
UPDATE: After publication of the story, the DEP provided SNJ Today a copy of a letter dated December 9th, 2015 to the attorneys for the City of Vineland. You can read the letter in its entirety here.

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