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U.S. Proposes to Settle With Companies at the Kin-Buc Landfill Superfund Site, in Edison, New Jersey

Release Date: 03/22/2005
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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE TUESDAY, MARCH 22, 2005

(#05025) WASHINGTON, DC -- The Department of Justice and the Environmental Protection Agency today announced the lodging of a proposed Consent Decree in which twelve defendants, including Waste Management, Inc., Transtech Industries, Inc., and certain of their affiliates, will pay $2,625,000, to reimburse EPA's costs for the ongoing clean-up of the Kin-Buc Landfill Superfund site, in Edison, New Jersey. The defendants also will pay a $100,000 civil penalty for their late performance of certain cleanup actions required by EPA.

In addition, the defendants are investing over $900,000 worth of land and cash in a supplemental environmental project that will protect over 100 acres of land, including sensitive estuarian wetlands, as open space in perpetuity. The defendants are also contributing at least $83,000 toward a wetland restoration and land management project on that land.

"We are extremely pleased that Transtech and Waste Management stepped up and agreed to this settlement," said Assistant Attorney General Thomas L. Sansonetti. "The people of New Jersey could not have asked for a better result and should feel confident that this agreement will help protect and restore the environment."

"We've made great progress in cleaning up Kin-Buc, ensuring that the landfill no longer poses a threat to people's health," said Acting EPA Regional Administrator Kathleen C. Callahan. "This settlement, which includes a penalty and supplemental environmental project beneficial to the Edison community, sends the message that EPA will pursue polluters and compel them to pay for cleanups."

The Kin-Buc site is a 200-acre former municipal, industrial and hazardous waste landfill that began operations in 1947 and accepted tens of millions of gallons of hazardous liquid waste from 1973 to 1976, when the State of New Jersey revoked its operating permit due to violations of state and federal environmental laws. Releases of hazardous substances at and from the site led EPA in 1983 to add Kin-Buc to the National Priorities List of the most contaminated hazardous waste sites. EPA then issued a series of clean-up orders under which the site has been and continues to be remediated. The defendants are former owners and operators of the landfill and former transporters of hazardous substances there. Under EPA oversight, the defendants have installed underground walls and above-ground caps to contain the contamination and have been operating an on-site treatment plant. Clean-up activities at the site are expected to continue for at least the next 20 years, at a total estimated cost of close to $100 million.

In addition to cost and penalty payments, the consent decree lodged today requires Transtech and certain of its affiliates to transfer title to over 100 acres of land in and near the site to a nonprofit conservation organization and to record conservation easements prohibiting most forms of use and development of that land in perpetuity. It also requires the preparation and implementation of Financing Plans, an Open Space Land Management Plan and a Wetland Restoration Plan, intended to identify, restore, and maintain both historic and current wetlands, and to manage the land in a way that preserves and enhances its value for the environment and for the local community. In order to ensure that all interested parties have a voice in the planning and development of these projects, the consent decree provides for a Community Outreach Program. The nonprofit Clean Land Fund has entered into a contract to assist in reaching out to the community during the planning and development process.

The proposed consent decree is subject to a 30-day public comment period, commencing on the date of publication of a notice of lodging in the Federal Register.