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Wasting Our Waterways Report Documents More Than 5.8 Million Pounds of Toxic Chemicals Dumped in NJ Waterways

For Immediate Release

Trenton – Industrial facilities dumped 5,862,061 pounds of toxic chemicals into New Jersey’s waterways in 2012, making New Jersey’s waterways the 14th worst in the nation, according to a new report by Environment New Jersey Research & Policy Center. The Wasting Our Waterways report comes as the Environmental Protection Agency considers a new rule to restore Clean Water Act protections to thousands of waterways in New Jersey and across the nation.

“New Jersey’s waterways should be clean – for swimming, drinking, and supporting wildlife,” said Doug O’Malley, director of Environment New Jersey Research & Policy Center.  “But too often, our waters have become a dumping ground for polluters.  The first step to curb this tide of toxic pollution is to restore Clean Water Act protections to all our waterways.”

The Environment New Jersey Research & Policy Center report on toxic pollutants discharged to America’s waters is based on data reported by polluting facilities to the EPA’s Toxics Release Inventory for 2012, the most recent data available.

Major findings of the report include:

  • Dupont Chambers Works was the biggest polluter in New Jersey, dumping 2,569,058 pounds of toxic pollution directly into the Delaware River in the Cohansey-Maurice River watershed. 
  • Second on the list, the Bayway Refinery in Linden alone in 2012 dumped 2,084,440 pounds of toxins including ethylene glycol, lead and lead compounds, sec-butyl alcohol, and toluene into the Morses Creek watershed, which feeds the Arthur Kill.  All of these toxins cause either cancer, developmental or reproductive problems.
  • Clocking in at third, the Paulsboro Refinery in Paulsboro released 799,354 pounds of toxins into the Woodbury Creek Watershed in 2012, which feeds directly into the Delaware River.

“It is clear that action must be taken to protect our nation’s waterways and assure all citizens have access to clean drinking water,” said Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ).  “We must work to strengthen the Clean Water Act’s protections of our waterways and work to improve chemical safety.  I commend Environment New Jersey for releasing this very important study and drawing attention to this critical matter.”

Environment New Jersey’s report summarizes discharges of cancer-causing chemicals, chemicals that persist in the environment, and chemicals with the potential to cause reproductive problems ranging from birth defects to infertility. The toxic chemicals dumped in New Jersey include lead, which causes cancer, and developmental toxins, such as benzene, which can affect the way children grow, learn, and behave. 

“If we don’t take decisive action to clean up New Jersey’s waterways, we jeopardize the long-term health of New Jerseyans and our planet,” said Rep. Donald Payne, Jr. “Although some measures have been taken to clean up our lakes, rivers, and streams, much more must be done.  A good first step is to strengthen the Clean Water Act, and I am pleased that Environment New Jersey has released this significant study because the risks to the public health, the environment, and our economy are too great to ignore.”

The most prevalent toxins that are being released into New Jersey’s waterways are nitrate compounds.  Excess amounts of nitrate create huge ecological disruptions and are unhealthy for infants under the age of 6 months and can lead to shortness of breath and blue baby syndrome.  Pregnant women need to be careful about how much nitrate is in the water they consume.

“My family was sickened from the vinyl chloride that was spilled near the Mantua Creek in 2012 and we are still seeing health effects, especially in my 4 year old. My community was also affected from the Solvay Solexis PFC water contamination. To learn that the Paulsboro Refinery has released almost 800,000 pounds of nitrate compounds into our water is disheartening,” said Trisha Sheehan, Moms Clean Air Force Field Organizer for New Jersey and a 30-year long resident of South Jersey.  “The Paulsboro Refinery was listed as 4th most dangerous facility in New Jersey in a report released from the Work Environment Council, titled Failure To Act, based off of its use of hydrofluoric acid. When asked to use safer chemical alternatives, the Paulsboro Refinery refused. The EPA recently proposed two new rules that would force the Paulsboro Refinery to clean up its act, reducing its pollution to both the air and water. I am hopeful that these new rules would give Paulsboro & its neighboring towns a cleaner future for our children.”

The report recommends several steps to curb this tide of toxic pollution – including requiring industry to switch from toxic chemicals to safer alternatives.  But Environment New Jersey Research & Policy Center is highlighting one part of the solution that could actually become law this year: Restoring the Clean Water Act protections to all New Jersey’s waters.

 As a result of court cases brought by polluters, over 4,000 miles of streams in New Jersey and 4 million New Jerseyan’s drinking water are now at risk of having no protection from pollution under the federal Clean Water Act.  Following years of advocacy by Environment New Jersey and its allies, this spring, the EPA finally proposed a rule to close the loopholes that have left New Jersey’s waterways and risk and restore Clean Water Act protections. But a wide range of polluting industries including refining companies is vigorously opposing the EPA protections.

 “Looking at the data from our report today, you can see why polluters might oppose it,” said O’Malley.  “That’s why we are working with farmers, small businesses, and thousands of ordinary New Jerseyans to make sure our voices for clean water are heard in Washington.” 

The public comment period on the clean water rule began the day before Earth Day, and was recently extended into the fall.

“New Jersey’s waterways shouldn’t be a polluter’s dumping ground. Our waterways are not a private sewer,” said O’Malley.  “If we want all our streams and rivers to be clean, we must restore Clean Water Act protections to all of our waterways this year.”

Background on Linden Bayway Refinery: The Linden Bayway Refinery has had environmental conflicts throughout its history.  In 2003, the New Jersey DEP and OSHA placed the refinery under scrutiny when an abnormal cancer rate was found amongst its workers. The refinery has also been cited almost 200 times since 2005 in violation of regulations set by the state.   

The Tremley Point section of Linden was severely affected by Hurricane Sandy.  A 15-foot tidal surge overtook the city, destroying homes, roads, and washing up hazardous material such as a 150-gallon diesel tank. Flooding from the tidal surge impacted 20 to 30 houses in the Tremley Point neighborhood in Linden. Tremley Point also faced damages from the storm due to its close proximity to the Bayway Refinery. The superstorm caused oil to spill from the refinery and flow towards the city, leaving a harsh fuel smell in the air. 

“We have seen the full force of Hurricane Sandy in our coastal communities with the obvious devastation of structures, but what is less dramatic and just as devastating was the storm surge of toxic chemical slime that entered the homes and basements of whole communities. Tremley Point is one such example. We will not be able to control Nature, but we can certainly enforce the Clean Water Act to keep our people and communities healthy,” said Georgina Shanley, co-founder of the Citizens United for Renewable Energy (CURE). 

Background on Paulsboro Refinery & Paulsboro Health Problems: The population in the region has been exposed to water and air contamination from the Paulsboro Refinery, other refineries, oil and gas pipelines, railway-transported hazardous materials, Solvay Specialty Polymers, Exxon-Mobil, and other processing and manufacturing facilities and storage yards that pose serious health risks and environmental pollution hazards. Specifically, the EPA data shows with stark numbers that outsized amounts of pollution dumped into the creek and river by the Paulsboro Refinery, delivering this pollution downstream to communities and, by tidal action, up to Philadelphia’s and South Jersey’s major drinking water intakes on the Delaware.

“The people in the Paulsboro region are subjected day in and day to air and water pollution from the Paulsboro Refinery and many other petrochemical facilities in this part of the Delaware River.  The public health and environmental impacts of this constant barrage of contamination takes its toll on the health and safety of those who live here, unfairly exposing local residents and workers to layer upon layer of pollution, as well as all those downstream who suffer the degradation of the river’s water. Combined with other sources of pollution such as Solvay Specialty Polymers in West Deptford where perfluorinated compounds have been spewed for decades into the air and water here, this is intolerable - the government should wake up and do something to stop sacrificing this region to industry,” said Tracy Carluccio, Deputy Director, Delaware Riverkeeper Network. 

For about 30 years perfluorinated compounds have been discharged into the environment by Solvay Specialty Polymers, contaminating the air, soil, drinking water, and the area’s creeks and the Delaware River with this highly toxic chemical, causing a slow-moving water pollution disaster. Residents are concerned about high levels of perfluorochemicals (PFCs) in their tap water, which the EPA has not regulated yet.  This January, the DEP released an advisory that cautioned residents to not give tap water to children under the age of one.  The tap water contains elevated levels of perfluorinated compounds (PFCs), used in the production of plastic.  Solvay claimed to have stopped using PFCs back in 2010.  However, PFCs are still being found in the Paulsboro water supply.

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Here is a chart of the top ten New Jersey polluters in 2012:

 

Facility Name
City Name
Industry
Total Releases (lbs.)

1. Dupont Chambers Works
Deepwater
Petrochemical Manufacturing
2,569,058

2. Conocophillips Co – Bayway Refinery
Linden
Petroleum Refineries
2,084,440

3. Paulsboro Refining Co LLC
Paulsboro
Petroleum Refineries
799,354

4. Mallinckrodt Baker Inc
Phillipsburg
All Other Basic Inorganic Chemical Manufacturing
293,420

5. DSM Nutritional Products LLC
Belvidere
Medicinal and Botanical Manufacturing
99,460

6. Infineum USA LP – Bayway Chemical Plant
Linden
All Other Basic Organic Chemical Manufacturing
10,307

7. Hess Corp – Port Reading Refinery
Port Reading
Petroleum Refineries
2,210   

 

8. Motiva Newark and Sewaren Terminal
Newark and Sewaren
Petroleum Bulk Stations and Terminals
390

9. Solvay
Thorofare
Plastics Material and Resin Manufacturing
291

10. V&S
Perth Amboy
Metal Coating, Engraving (except Jewelry and Silverware), and Allied Services to Maunfacturers
260

 

Here is a summary chart of where and what these polluters are releasing into our waterways:

 

Facility Name
Individual Watershed
Chemical Released and Harmful Effects

1. Dupont Chambers Works
Salem Canal/Whooping John Creek
Benzene– carcinogen, anemia   

Nitrate compounds – blue baby syndrome

2. Conoco Phillips Co – Bayway Refinery
Morses Creek
Nitrate compounds– blue baby syndrome   

Xylene – nervous system damage

Toulene – nervous system, kidney, or liver problems

Ethylbenzene – kidney problems

3. Paulsboro Refining Co LLC
Woodbury Creek/Delaware River
Nitrate compounds – blue baby syndrome   

Toulene – nervous system, kidney, or liver problems

4. Mallinckrodt Baker Inc
Buckhorn Creek/Delaware River
Nitrate compounds – blue baby syndrome

5. DSM Nutritional Products LLC
Allegheny Creek/Delaware River
Nitrate compounds – blue baby syndrome

6. Infineum USA LP – Bayway Chemical Plant
Morses Creek
Lead and lead compounds– affects development of children   

Toulene – nervous system, kidney, or liver problems

7. Hess Corp – Port Reading Refinery
Woodbridge Creek
Xylene – nervous system damage

8. Motiva Newark and Sewaren Terminal
Newark Bay, Woodbridge Creek
Benzene– carcinogen, anemia   

Ethylbenzene – kidney problems

Lead and lead compounds – affects development of children

Toulene – nervous system, kidney, or liver problems

9. Solvay
Woodbury Creek
Trichloroethane – liver, nervous system

10. V&S
Woodbridge Creek
Lead and lead compounds – affects development of children

 

Paulsboro Refinery – chemical names and how many pounds are released:

 

PAULSBORO REFINING CO LLC
PAULSBORO
1,2,4-TRIMETHYLBENZENE

120

PAULSBORO REFINING CO LLC
PAULSBORO
AMMONIA

473

PAULSBORO REFINING CO LLC
PAULSBORO
BENZENE

12

PAULSBORO REFINING CO LLC
PAULSBORO
BENZO(G,H,I)PERYLENE

24

PAULSBORO REFINING CO LLC
PAULSBORO
CUMENE

120

PAULSBORO REFINING CO LLC
PAULSBORO
CYCLOHEXANE

134

PAULSBORO REFINING CO LLC
PAULSBORO
DIETHANOLAMINE

13

PAULSBORO REFINING CO LLC
PAULSBORO
ETHYLBENZENE

12

PAULSBORO REFINING CO LLC
PAULSBORO
LEAD AND LEAD COMPOUNDS

30

PAULSBORO REFINING CO LLC
PAULSBORO
MERCURY AND MERCURY COMPOUNDS

1.9

PAULSBORO REFINING CO LLC
PAULSBORO
NAPHTHALENE

120

PAULSBORO REFINING CO LLC
PAULSBORO
N-HEXANE

120

PAULSBORO REFINING CO LLC
PAULSBORO
NICKEL AND NICKEL COMPOUNDS

168

PAULSBORO REFINING CO LLC
PAULSBORO
NITRATE COMPOUNDS

797847

PAULSBORO REFINING CO LLC
PAULSBORO
POLYCYCLIC AROMATIC COMPOUNDS

12

PAULSBORO REFINING CO LLC
PAULSBORO
TETRACHLOROETHYLENE

12

PAULSBORO REFINING CO LLC
PAULSBORO
TOLUENE

3

PAULSBORO REFINING CO LLC
PAULSBORO
VANADIUM AND VANADIUM COMPOUNDS

60

PAULSBORO REFINING CO LLC
PAULSBORO
XYLENE (MIXED ISOMERS)

12

PAULSBORO REFINING CO LLC
PAULSBORO
ZINC AND ZINC COMPOUNDS

60

 

 

Linden Bayway Refinery – Chemical names and how many pounds are released:

CONOCOPHILLIPS CO - BAYWAY REFINERY
LINDEN
1,2,4-TRIMETHYLBENZENE

22

CONOCOPHILLIPS CO - BAYWAY REFINERY
LINDEN
AMMONIA

470

CONOCOPHILLIPS CO - BAYWAY REFINERY
LINDEN
BENZENE

350

CONOCOPHILLIPS CO - BAYWAY REFINERY
LINDEN
CUMENE

3

CONOCOPHILLIPS CO - BAYWAY REFINERY
LINDEN
CYCLOHEXANE

2

CONOCOPHILLIPS CO - BAYWAY REFINERY
LINDEN
ETHYLBENZENE

210

CONOCOPHILLIPS CO - BAYWAY REFINERY
LINDEN
HYDROGEN SULFIDE

80

CONOCOPHILLIPS CO - BAYWAY REFINERY
LINDEN
LEAD AND LEAD COMPOUNDS

47.1

CONOCOPHILLIPS CO - BAYWAY REFINERY
LINDEN
NAPHTHALENE

320

CONOCOPHILLIPS CO - BAYWAY REFINERY
LINDEN
N-HEXANE

2

CONOCOPHILLIPS CO - BAYWAY REFINERY
LINDEN
NICKEL AND NICKEL COMPOUNDS

770

CONOCOPHILLIPS CO - BAYWAY REFINERY
LINDEN
NITRATE COMPOUNDS

2080000

CONOCOPHILLIPS CO - BAYWAY REFINERY
LINDEN
PHENOL

18

CONOCOPHILLIPS CO - BAYWAY REFINERY
LINDEN
POLYCYCLIC AROMATIC COMPOUNDS

2.4

CONOCOPHILLIPS CO - BAYWAY REFINERY
LINDEN
TERT-BUTYL ALCOHOL

13

CONOCOPHILLIPS CO - BAYWAY REFINERY
LINDEN
TOLUENE

630

CONOCOPHILLIPS CO - BAYWAY REFINERY
LINDEN
XYLENE (MIXED ISOMERS)

1500

CONOCOPHILLIPS CO TREMLEY POINT TERMINAL
LINDEN
BENZENE

5

CONOCOPHILLIPS CO TREMLEY POINT TERMINAL
LINDEN
NAPHTHALENE

5

INFINEUM USA LP-BAYWAY CHEMICAL PLANT
LINDEN
AMMONIA

369

INFINEUM USA LP-BAYWAY CHEMICAL PLANT
LINDEN
ETHYLENE GLYCOL

4189

INFINEUM USA LP-BAYWAY CHEMICAL PLANT
LINDEN
LEAD AND LEAD COMPOUNDS

0.002

INFINEUM USA LP-BAYWAY CHEMICAL PLANT
LINDEN
N-HEXANE

1

INFINEUM USA LP-BAYWAY CHEMICAL PLANT
LINDEN
PHENOL

48

INFINEUM USA LP-BAYWAY CHEMICAL PLANT
LINDEN
SEC-BUTYL ALCOHOL

1369

INFINEUM USA LP-BAYWAY CHEMICAL PLANT
LINDEN
TERT-BUTYL ALCOHOL

4189

INFINEUM USA LP-BAYWAY CHEMICAL PLANT
LINDEN
TOLUENE

31