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NJ sues Connecticut company for contamination at former Lodi site

LODI — The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection has filed a lawsuit for damages against Connecticut-based Hexcel Corporation, which for 13 years operated a manufacturing facility in that borough of Bergen County where storage tanks leaked fuel and toxic chemicals into groundwater.

In a statement Monday, the state attorney general’s office said another defendant, Fine Organics Corporation of Clifton, is named as the second entity in the lawsuit. Fine Organics acquired the Lodi site from Hexcel in 1986 and operated it for another 12 years before operations were curtailed.

OAG said site remediation was complete, but groundwater was previously contaminated with volatile organic compounds, polychlorinated biphenyls and petroleum products that “move rapidly through urban environments, often causing fumes to seep in.” harmful chemicals in homes and businesses.

The chemicals in question, according to state officials, pose an increased risk of immune, reproductive, nervous or endocrine system damage, cancer, kidney dysfunction, respiratory tract irritation or cognitive or neurological problems.

While remediation in 2016 removed 8,500 cubic meters of contaminated soil and 53,000 gallons of groundwater, OAG said, groundwater has not returned to pre-contamination conditions and is not expected to do so. do before 2041.

No specific adverse effects on the health of area residents, if any, were mentioned in the statement, but the OAG said the community has a large low-income minority population and is “overburdened under the terms of the state environmental justice law. .

In addition to seeking damages, the lawsuit also alleges that Hexcel and Fine Organics committed unlawful trespass and created a public nuisance.

Patrick Lavery is a reporter and anchor for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach him at [email protected]

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