Legal Updates for Environmental Law
Legal Updates for Environmental Law - June 2019
Five Companies Alleged to Be Responsible for Widespread Pollution of Drinking Water Systems Ordered to Spend Millions to Assess Scope of Contamination and Eventually Clean Up the Pollution.
By Lila Wynne, Esq.
On March 25, 2019, the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, In the Matter of Poly- and Perfluoroalkyl Substances, (PFAS) Generated By: Solvay Specialty Polymers USA, LLC; Solvay Solexis, Inc.; E.I. Du Pont de Nemours & Company; DowDuPont, Inc; DuPont Specialty Products USA, LLC; The Chemours Company, FC, LLC; The Chemours Company; and The 3M Company issued a Directive, Information Request and Notice to Insurers to these five companies notifying them that the Department believes them to be responsible for the significant contamination of New Jersey’s natural resources, including the air and waters of the state, with poly- and perfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), including perfluorononanoic acid (PFNA), perfluorooctanic acid (PFOA), perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS) and their replacement compounds, including but not limited to Genx (a replacement for PFOA).
In its Directive, the Department instructs the respondents to provide a complete accounting of their historical and current activities with respect to these chemicals in New Jersey. This includes information regarding historical PFAS manufacturing practices, as well as a request that each respondent provide to the Department information regarding its use of PFAS replacement chemicals (i.e., short-chain PFAS chemicals used in any manufacturing process as a a replacement for PFNA, PFOA and/or PFOS in New Jersey). If a respondent is not the manufacturer or transporter of the replacement chemicals, the respondent is directed to identify any such manufacturer or transporter.
The Directive also requests the respondents meet collectively with the Department to discuss a good faith estimate for future costs to investigate, test, treat, clean up and remove PFNA, PFOA, and PFOS from New Jersey’s environment and to discuss respondents’ establishment of funding sources for same.
Finally, the Directive orders the respondents to provide all information related to their historic use of PFNA, PFOA and PFOS, as well as their current use of replacement chemicals.
This Directive is the first of its kind in the nation and will be subject to significant court challenge.
NJ DEP Proposes Maximum Contaminant Levels.
By Lila Wynne, Esq.
On April 1, 2019, the state of New Jersey also proposed a drinking water standard of 14 parts per trillion (ppt) for PFOA and 13 parts per trillion (ppt) for PFOS. These proposed drinking water levels are significantly lower than the current United States EPA unenforceable Health Advisory standard of 70 parts per trillion (ppt) for combined PFOS/PFOA.
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