U.S. Rep. Bill Pascrell, Jr. (D-NJ-09) today lauded an agreement that would require three companies to repay the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) $2.1 million spent by the EPA to clean up contamination at Abrachem Chemical, a former bulk chemical packaging facility in Clifton.
"Following the cooperative work of the local and federal government to get this contaminated site cleaned up, I am pleased to see the polluter finally bear the financial burden," said Rep. Pascrell. "This is a perfect example of how the Superfund law can ensure the taxpayer isn't left holding the bag for the cleanup of a contaminated site that posed a threat to public health and safety. This agreement should send the message to any other negligent parties creating such hazardous conditions in a community that they will ultimately be brought to justice."
After a chemical release was reported at the site in October 2008, Pascrell sent a letter to then New Jersey Attorney General Anne Milgram requesting an investigation of Abrachem and continued monitoring of two new facilities the company had opened.
When the EPA's On-Scene Coordinators responded to the reported chemical release at the facility, they discovered that several large shipping containers packed with rusted and leaking drums of various unknown chemicals.
Abrachem officials initially said the company would perform a cleanup, but later indicated that it was not able to meet the criteria that EPA believed to be adequate to prevent another chemical release. After the company refused to give the EPA voluntary access to the site, the EPA received authority from a federal magistrate to enter the site and conduct the cleanup.
During the cleanup process the EPA removed over 1,600 drums and other containers of hazardous substances, contaminants, and pollutants from 17 shipping containers. Numerous chemical companies aided in retrieving and/or disposing of approximately 600 drums that bore the name of an original supplier at no or minimal cost to the government.
Using the authorities of the Superfund law, the EPA was successful in reaching a $2.1 million agreement with Clifton 2003, L.L.C, Hampshire Generational Fund, L.L.C and WEA Enterprises Co., Inc. to repay the cost of cleaning up the Abrachem site.
In 2009, Rep. Pascrell requested that the New Jersey Attorney General examine the company's action to leave behind thousands of barrels of improperly stored, potentially dangerous chemicals at the Clifton facility.