The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced that $22 million has been received from D.S.C. of Newark Enterprises, Inc. and its sole shareholder, Anthony Coraci, for their liability in a settlement to recover the federal and state government’s costs for cleanup and for natural resource damages caused by contamination at the Cornell-Dubilier Electronics Superfund site in South Plainfield, New Jersey.
The recovered funds were divided among the plaintiffs. The EPA received $16.2 Million, New Jersey received $1.2 Million, and the federal natural resource trustees represented by the Department of Interior Fish and Wildlife Service, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, received natural resource damages of $4.4 Million.
Cornell-Dubilier Electronics, Inc. manufactured electronics parts at a 26-acre facility at 333 Hamilton Boulevard in South Plainfield from 1936 to 1962. PCBs and solvents were used in the manufacturing process, and the company disposed of PCB-contaminated materials and other hazardous waste at the facility. Bound Brook passes next to the former Cornell-Dubilier Electronics facility and was contaminated with PCBs as a result of waste disposal at the facility, including releases that continued long after its closure.
PCBs are chemicals that persist in the environment and can affect the immune, reproductive, nervous and endocrine systems and are potentially cancer-causing. Polychlorinated biphenyls had been widely used in hundreds of industrial and commercial applications until they were banned in 1979. More than 1.5 billion pounds of polychlorinated biphenyls were manufactured in the United States before the EPA banned their use with very narrow exceptions.
South Plainfield is supplied with public water from a couple of companies. The public water supply is routinely tested to ensure compliance with federal and state drinking water standards.
“The legal agreement to recover a portion of the costs of the Cornell-Dubilier Electronics Superfund site means that the responsible parties will bear their share of the financial burden for cleaning up this site,” said EPA Regional Administrator Judith A. Enck. “The EPA searches for polluters legally responsible for the contamination at sites that are placed on the Superfund list and it seeks to hold those parties accountable for the costs of investigations and cleanups.”
Because of the nature and complexity of the contamination at the Cornell-Dubilier site, the EPA divided the cleanup into four phases.
In the first phase of cleanup, the EPA cleaned up nearby residential, commercial and municipal properties. PCB-contaminated soil was removed from 34 residential properties near the former facility property.
In the second phase, EPA cleaned up the contaminated buildings and soil on the former facility. The EPA demolished 18 contaminated buildings and removed 26,400 tons of building debris out of the area to be disposed of properly. EPA excavated approximately 21,000 tons of contaminated debris and soil from an undeveloped area of the facility. Additionally, EPA treated contaminated soil at the site using a technology that heats the material so that contaminants can be pulled out and captured. Soil that could not be cleaned using this method was taken out of the area for disposal at a licensed facility.
The third phase is ongoing and focuses on the contaminated groundwater. The EPA is monitoring the groundwater and will put in place restrictions that will prevent the use of untreated groundwater as drinking water. In addition, EPA will perform periodic sampling to confirm that potentially harmful vapors from the contaminated groundwater are not seeping into nearby buildings. EPA deferred action on an area of the groundwater that discharges to Bound Brook until the fourth phase of the long-term cleanup project.
The EPA has proposed a plan to clean up a nine mile stretch of Bound Brook as the fourth and final phase of the cleanup of the Cornell-Dubilier Electronics Superfund site in South Plainfield, New Jersey.
The proposed plan includes dredging PCB-contaminated sediment, excavating soil from the flood plains, excavating an area next to the former Cornell-Dubilier facility where PCB-containing capacitors were buried, relocating a 36-inch waterline that crosses the former facility, and containing groundwater that discharges from the facility to Bound Brook. The estimated cost of the cleanup under this plan for the third phase is $252 million. To date, the EPA’s cleanup costs for this site exceed $180 million.