Sayreville landfill site to be preserved; borough will be reimbursed for value of property

SAYREVILLE – Following litigation over a former landfill site on Jernee Mill Road, officials in Sayreville have authorized a consent judgement and contribution agreement that will preserve the property through a conservation easement and see the borough reimbursed by $373,505.

On May 26, the Borough Council adopted an ordinance authorizing the execution of the consent judgement and contribution agreement in connection with litigation that the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) filed against various chemical manufacturers in New Jersey Superior Court over the former Sayreville Landfill on Jernee Mill Road. As stated in the ordinance, Sayreville was named as a third-party defendant by the manufacturers.

According to information provided by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the borough owned and operated the landfill from 1970 to its closure in 1977. The landfill was licensed to receive municipal waste and light industrial waste, but hazardous waste was allegedly disposed of during operations and after its 1977 closure. In 1983, it was placed on the Superfund program’s National Priorities List by the EPA due to numerous chemicals being found on the site.

The consent judgement states that the DEP initiated a complaint against the defendants in 2007 seeking reimbursement of the costs incurred and will incur to remediate the former landfill, including damages for any natural state resource that was or will be affected by the discharge of hazardous substances and pollutants at the property. The DEP also sought reimbursement for the costs to close the landfill, as well as impacts by the disposal of solid wastes on natural state resources.

The manufacturers denied liability, according to the consent judgement, and some filed third-party complaints against Sayreville and other parties, seeking contribution and indemnification for any costs and damages for which they would be held liable under the complaint.

According to the consent judgement, the settling defendants do not admit any liability arising from the transactions and occurrences that the DEP alleges in the complaint and/or that the third-party plaintiffs allege in the third-party complaint filed. The ordinance states that the DEP will dismiss with prejudice all of the claims in the complaint.

As part of the consent judgement, Sayreville will preserve approximately 24.15 acres of the landfill by granting a conservation easement to the DEP, according to the ordinance. The defendants will also reimburse $373,505 to Sayreville for their share of the value of the property being conserved by the borough.

The defendants, excluding Sayreville, will reimburse the DEP $32,989 in natural resource damage assessment costs and attorneys fees incurred by the DEP in the consent judgement, according to the ordinance.