Polluters Pay for Huge New Jersey Hazwaste Landfill Cleanup

EDISON, New Jersey, March 24, 2005 (ENS) - Twelve defendants, including Waste Management, Inc. and Transtech Industries, Inc. have agreed to pay $2.6 million to reimburse federal government costs for the ongoing cleanup of hazardous waste at at one of the largest Superfund sites in New Jersey.

Clean-up activities at the the Kin-Buc Landfill Superfund site in Edison are expected to continue for at least the next 20 years, at a total estimated cost of close to $100 million.

In a consent decree made public Tuesday by the Department of Justice and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the defendants - all former owners and operators of the landfill and former transporters of hazardous substances there - agreed to pay an aditional $100,000 civil penalty for their late performance of certain cleanup actions required by the EPA.

The defendants also agreed to invest 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. The decree is subject to a 30 day public comment period.


The Kin-Buc Superfund Site is adjacent to a residential neighborhood in Edison, New Jersey. (Photo courtesy NOAA Office of Response and Restoration)
The Kin-Buc site is a 200 acre former municipal, industrial and hazardous waste landfill that began operations in 1947. It accepted large quantities 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.

Kin-Buc is one of the largest Superfund sites in New Jersey, having received over 90 million gallons of hazardous waste, in both drummed and bulk form, during its period of operation.

Releases of hazardous substances from the site led the EPA in 1983 to add Kin-Buc to the Superfund List of the most contaminated hazardous waste sites. The agency then issued a series of clean-up orders under which the site has been and continues to be remediated.

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.

“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 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 consent decree also requires Transtech and 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.

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.


Engineers from Conti Environmental install a barrier over a portion of the Kin-Buc Landfill Superfund Site for their client, Waste Management, Inc. (Photo courtesy Conti)
The nonprofit Clean Land Fund has entered into a contract to assist in reaching out to the community during the planning and development process, an activity required by the consent decree.

“We are extremely pleased that Transtech and Waste Management stepped up and agreed to this settlement,” said Assistant Attorney General Thomas 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.”

Conti Environmental has been the prime contractor and construction manager for the remediation of the Kin-Buc landfill. They have installed a landfill gas collection and flaring system, a 7,000 foot long slurry wall, construction of an aqueous phase leachate collection system of equal length, and installation of a 1,200 linear-foot oil phase leachate collection system.

Conti also stabilized 10,000 cubic yards of sediments contaminated with PCBs before placement in the landfill, which was capped with a geomembrane tied into an existing cap installed by Conti in 1980.