New Jersey has filed lawsuits against 12 businesses, including two in Paterson, for alleged environmental violations.
American Fabric Processors and Adolfo Auto Repair, both based out of Paterson, were sued on Thursday.
American Fabric Processors
American Fabric Processors operates out of a large facility at 555 East 31st Street (pictured). Since 2014, the company has operated a fabric dyeing and finishing facility in alleged violation of the New Jersey Air Pollution Control Act.
Equipment used by American Fabric Processors allegedly emits harmful air pollutants such as nitrogen oxides (NOx) and volatile organic compounds (VOC). NOx and VOC contribute to smog and can lead to respiratory tract irritation, headaches, chronically reduced lung function, especially in asthma patients, and eye irritation, according to the lawsuit.
David and Jacob Binson, corporate officers for the company, are also named in the lawsuit.
Adolfo Auto Repair
Adolfo Auto Repair operates out of 456 Market Street. Owner, Adolfo Gonzalez, operated the auto repair facility for many years. He removed two 500-gallon gasoline underground storage tanks (USTs) in alleged violation of state laws in 1998.
Gonzalez failed to investigate and address possible petroleum product contamination of the ground. No investigation was done to identify any discharges of hazardous substance.
“Without a site investigation, there was little way of knowing whether the soil and groundwater beneath the Site was contaminated, or if dangerous petroleum has impacted the homes and businesses of those living and working near the Site,” states the lawsuit filed against Adolfo Auto Repair and Gonzalez.
“The scourge of COVID-19 has put a harsh spotlight on the way environmental injustices affect our basic health, and we’re going to do the hard work necessary to protect communities from dumping, contamination and other illegal activities,” New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal, said on Thursday. “The message to New Jersey residents should be clear: everyone, and I really mean everyone, deserves to breathe clean air and live in a safe environment.”
Grewal described New Jersey’s effort as “pathbreaking” to hold polluters, particularly those that operate in low-income areas, accountable for committing alleged environmental violations. His aim is to deliver “environmental justice.”
Grewal filed the lawsuits in conjunction with the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (DEP).
“Together, we are holding accountable those who, by design or circumstance, disproportionately harm the environment and communities of our low-income and minority neighbors. Today’s lawsuits complement the many ways that we pursue environmental justice, standing with every New Jersey community and for the shared natural resources that unite us,” Catherine R. McCabe, commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), said.
The lawsuits seek remedies such as clean-up of contaminated properties and compliance with all outstanding DEP orders, payment of damages and penalties, reimbursement to the state for clean-up costs expended to date and, in certain instances, natural resource damages.
Other ten cases are:
- Former Penick Corp./Unilever, Newark: Natural Resource Damage (NRD) case, which involves groundwater contamination. Based on elevated concentrations of volatile organic compounds, semi-volatile organic compounds, polychlorinated biphenyls and various metals. Defendants include: Penick Corp., Penick Realty, LLC, and Unilever United States, Inc.
- Deerfield Organics, Upper Deerfield Township: Contaminated storm-water discharge. Prior owner improperly disposed of solid waste from recycling operations by burying the waste on-site, which has not been addressed by current owner. Defendants include Deerfield Organics, Nature’s Choice Recycling, and Harvest Garden State.
- 1576 Maple/Road Runner Fuel, Hillside: Elevated levels of dry cleaning chemicals PCE and TCE in the groundwater and indoor air (1576 Maple) and an unremoved underground storage tank system and gasoline discharge contamination (Road Runner Fuel). Defendants include Irfan Hassan; Little Mason Properties, LLC; Astro Cleaners; 1576 Maple Avenue Associates, LLC; and Road Runner Fuel Services, LLC.
- Friends Gas Station, Newark: Gasoline-contaminated soil. Defendants include Little Mason Properties, LLC; Hassan and Friends Gas.
- Delta Gas Station, South Orange: Gasoline discharge contamination. Defendants include Wayne Sanford and Sanford Service, owners and operators at the time of the discharges, alongside current owner Little Mason Properties, LLC.
- 43-45 South Center Street, LLC (Orange Automotive): Gasoline and waste oil contamination. Owner failed to comply with 2019 order to remediate the contamination caused by discharges from multiple underground storage tanks. Defendant is 43-45 South Center, LLC.
- Heba Auto Repair, Jersey City: Gasoline contamination. Underground storage tanks removed without necessary permits; site is alleged to have been back-filled with gasoline-contaminated soil. Owners not complying with DEP site investigation/remediation orders. Defendants are Fathi Hassanein and Alia Hassanein.
- Hyman’s Automotive and Hyman Concreate & Construction, Fairfield Township: The issues the State is seeking to address include oil and hazardous fluids leaking from junk cars, and illegally stored and burned piles of wood and concrete. Defendants include Ennis Hyman, Gerald Hyman, and Hyman Concrete and Construction, LLC.
- 125 Monitor Street JC, LLC, Jersey City: Soil and groundwater contamination, including with arsenic, copper, lead, petroleum, PCE and TCE. Defendant is 125 Monitor Street JC, LLC.
- Elizabeth Bolt and Nut, Elizabeth: Lead and petroleum contamination from industrial processes spanning decades. Defendants include Elizabeth Bolt & Nut Manufacturing Corporation, the Estate of Rose Haskell, Stemple Corporation, and current owner Aquaserv Bottled Water Service, Inc.
New Jersey launched the “environmental justice” initiative in 2018.