Monday, April 6, 2015

NJDEP chief and Solvay read clean-up ad differently

A South Jersey chemical company on Sunday refuted a claim by the state’s top environmental official that it had prematurely ended its investigation into water contamination near its West Deptford factory, Jon Hurdle writes today in NJ Spotlight.
Bob Martin - DEP photo
NJDEP's Mob Martin
 A spokesman for Solvay Specialty Polymers said the company has no intention of terminating a probe into the presence of PFNA, a potentially carcinogenic chemical, despite criticism by Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Bob Martin that it had failed to complete its work.
Spokesman David Klucsik said that an advertisement placed by Solvay in the South Jersey Times on April 2, and an accompanying statement, were intended to show that the company had reached a “milestone” in its investigation but is continuing to look into the presence of the chemical in local groundwater.
“Neither the statement nor the ad suggests in any way that our investigation is over,” he told NJ Spotlight. “In fact, we stated just the opposite. We stated that we anticipate the investigation will continue and we also stated that we hope to meet with the department to plan next steps.”
In the ad, Solvay said it had taken about 800 samples from ground and surface water sources, municipal and private wells, and Delaware River sediment over the past year, had contacted some 200 properties, and had studied air quality at specific sites.
The company said in the ad that it had found PFNA in an unspecified number of private water wells, among 95 tested, and that the DEP would determine how to treat the contaminated wells.
In conducting the testing, the company had “completed the elements of the work plan developed with the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection,” the ad and statement said.
Klucsik told NJ Spotlight on Sunday that “15 or 16” of the 95 wells were found to contain PFNA at 20 parts per trillion or more, a level that merited treatment by the DEP. He was unable to say what the treatment would consist of but said the company has offered to pay for it.
In its statement, the company said it also found contamination in “some” sediment samples taken from the Delaware River, although no PFNA was found in the river’s surface water. 
Martin said in his own statement that he was “extremely disappointed” by Solvay’s ad, and accused the company of trying     
to evade responsibility for the contamination.
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