NJ sues companies over drinking water contamination in Morris, Sussex counties

Negligent companies contaminating our environment and sacrificing the health of New Jersey residents is unacceptable. We are pleased to see the Murphy administration and AG Grewal pursue these actions to recoup taxpayer money and hold irresponsible individuals accountable.

Gov. Phil Murphy's administration filed lawsuits Friday against a number of companies that allegedly contaminated drinking water supplies in six towns throughout the state including ones in Morris and Sussex Counties.

The lawsuits are the latest in a series of actions taken by Attorney General Gurbir Grewal and the state Department of Environmental Protection against polluters to recoup taxpayer money already spent on cleanups.

One lawsuit targets a former sweater factory — Gotthelf Knitting Millsor — for allegedly discharging suspected cancer-causing compounds tetrachloroethylene (PCE) and trichloroethylene (TCE) and contaminating dozens of wells in Boonton and Montville.

The contamination was discovered in December 2000 when a painting contractor at a Prospect Street property noticed that water from the kitchen-tap had a strange odor.

More than 300 wells were sampled and 30 were found to contaminated with tetrachloroethylene (PCE) and trichloroethylene (TCE) two compounds that often vaporize from groundwater and migrate to the surface.

Residents in the area who received drinking water from those wells were then connected to other public water lines. The contaminated wells were sealed.

The lawsuit does not mention how much money the state is seeking to be reimbursed.

Another lawsuit targets the owners of Hopatcong Automotive Service station.

The suit alleges that soil and groundwater samples taken from 1995 through 2005 show levels of benzene, toluene and other chemicals associated with gasoline at levels above the state standard. The suit alleges it came from spills and overflows from pipes going into underground storage tanks.

In 2007, the DEP removed two underground storage tanks after the tenant complained that "gasoline odors were emanating from the building faucets and toilets." The lawsuit asked for reimbursement but does not mention a dollar amount.

Other lawsuits were filed against companies in Livingston, Pittsgrove, Union and Winslow.

The chemicals cited in the lawsuits have been linked to a cornucopia of ailments particularly among the elderly, young children and women who are pregnant.

Source: https://www.njherald.com/story/news/environment/2020/12/18/nj-sues-over-contaminated-drinking-water-sussex-morris-counties/3959486001/?fbclid=IwAR0QwJ0ZAfV5ayXl9qJF3xQWh-v4iYafu-SAg8VJwZnbVUJW4mo5EUibU2Y