Feds Issue Legal Challenge to Newark-based Oil Company That Failed to Clean Up Polluted Site

The state’s complaint alleges that Fast Oil Co. exposed residents surrounding of 126 Passaic St. in Newark to environmental and public health dangers by failing to comply with DEP orders concerning a 300,000-gallon above-ground storage tank.

The tank, which reportedly contains hazardous wastewater, is now mixing with cooking oil and shipping to a biodiesel supplier without obtaining required DEP permits, according to officials.

The complaint reads that the tank contains silver, barium, and 2-butanone (methyl ethyl ketone), all of which are regulated hazardous substances. These substances are known to pose threats to human health including breathing problems, lung and throat irritation, muscular weakness, and central nervous system issues.

Fast Oil previously failed to provide DEP with required discharge prevention and clean-up plans, and subsequently entered into an Administrative Consent Order with DEP requiring that it remove all wastewater from the tank or submit the required plans within 120 days, according to officials. Then, Fast Oil then failed to comply with the ACO, and DEP subsequently discovered the company’s unpermitted wastewater/cooking oil operations, according to officials. 

The lawsuit seeks to compel defendants to empty the tank, repair the containment system surrounding the tank, immediately halt the illegal solid waste importing and processing operations, and pay civil penalties. 

Alongside Newark, four other environmental justice lawsuits were filed focusing on harmful contamination posing a threat to residents and natural resources in Camden, Irvington, Jersey City, and Somerville.

Each of these communities is considered “overburdened” under New Jersey’s Environmental Justice Law because it has a significant low-income, minority, and/or limited English proficiency population, officials said. 

“For far too long, our fellow residents in low-income and minority communities have carried a disproportionate burden of the pollution that we all together create,” said LaTourette. “With Governor [Phil Murphy’s leadership, New Jersey is turning the tide and implementing the strongest environmental justice law in the country. Still, we must reckon with the pollution of the past and, through actions like those we take today, hold accountable those who have harmed already overburden communities."

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published this page in News and Politics 2021-10-09 01:54:28 -0700