Consent Decree Lodged for American Cyanamid Site in New Jersey

Restoration plans for the Raritan River will improve fish passage.
Restoration plans for the Raritan River will improve fish passage.

Consent Decree Lodged for American Cyanamid Site in New Jersey

October 20, 2016

Updated November 4, 2016 - The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) lodged a consent decree on October 13, 2016, for settlement of “in-river” natural resource injury liability associated with releases from the American Cyanamid Superfund Site. Under the decree, Wyeth Holdings LLC will remove the Weston Mill Dam, on the Millstone River, and conduct a alternative analysis report and design of improved fish passage at the Island Farm Weir on the Raritan River. The decree also secures more than $284,000 for past and future assessment and oversight costs. The public is encouraged to review and comment on the consent decree through December 16th. Issues concerning corporate liability other than the “in-river” matters addressed in DOJ’s consent decree will be analyzed and addressed in the future.

For decades, numerous entities at or near the American Cyanamid facility in Bridgewater, New Jersey, released a variety of contaminants, such as volatile organic compounds (VOCs), semi-volatile organic compounds (SVOC)s, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), and metals, into the Raritan River. The American Cyanamid facility was used for the manufacture of chemicals and pharmaceuticals as well as for coal tar distillation. The Environmental Protection Agency declared the American Cyanamid facility a Superfund site in 1983.

Natural Resource Trustees (NOAA, DOI, and the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection) analyzed available data to assess potential injuries to natural resources in the Raritan River and Cuckels Brook related to releases at the American Cyanamid site. NOAA and other Trustees prepared a draft restoration plan and environmental assessment that outlined their assessment of injuries and restoration project alternatives. The draft restoration plan/environmental assessment was released for public comment in June 2016. In this draft plan, the Trustees proposed removing the Weston Mill Dam on the Millstone River and conducting a alternative analysis report and design of an improved fish passage alternative at the Island Farm Weir on the Raritan River.

In June 2016, NOAA accepted comments from the public regarding the draft restoration plan; the 30-day public comment period ended in July.  Written comments received, and the trustees’ responses to those comments, have been summarized in the Trustees' Final In-River Restoration Plan and Environmental Assessment released November 4, 2016. In the final restoration plan, the Weston Dam on the Millstone River will be removed and a alternative analysis report and design of an improved fish passage alternative at the Island Farm Weir on the Raritan River will be prepared. The Trustees recommended removal of the Weston Mill Dam to restore habitat for fish and other in-river trust resources injured by long-term hazardous substance releases related to the site. Restoration is expected to begin next summer.

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