On Tuesday, the State of New Jersey filed two environmental lawsuits: one against Honeywell International for its role in what the regional news site northjersey.com calls “a cornucopia of pollution” stemming from an industrial facility in Edgewater. The riverfront property belongs to an area referred to since 2002 as the Quanta Superfund site, named for Quanta Resources Inc., the last operator of a plant on the site that recycled waste oil from river barges in the mid-20th century. The lawsuit contends that pollution from the site has contaminated the neighboring residential and commercial properties, as well as the nearby Hudson River.
State Attorney General Gurbir Grewal is seeking financial compensation to restore damages to New Jersey’s natural assets, because according to state officials, coal tar, arsenic, and other contaminants continue to be released “well outside” the boundaries of the Quanta site. “The corporations we’re suing knew full well the potential harms they were inflicting on our environment, but chose to forge ahead anyway,” Grewal said in a statement. “When companies disregard the laws meant to protect our environment, they can expect to pay.”
A Dirty Past
According to the northjersey.com report, the Quanta site’s history includes 150 years of industrial use, followed by decades of poor management and neglect, starting in the early 19th century when its factories used to produce coal tar for roofing. Additionally, a chemical plant next to the old Quanta Resources site produced arsenic that leaked out onto the property over half a century.
Under Quanta’s management, oil leaked constantly into the Hudson River and contaminated the ground where at least 9 million gallons of liquids—including oil laced with large amounts of cancer-causing PCBs—were stored for years. The pollution spread underground from the main Quanta site to the other side of River Road and to a neighboring building (since demolished) that housed a day care facility, reports northjersey.com.