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World News | Belgium’s Solvay to pay $393m to clean up and compensate for PFAS pollution in New Jersey


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Trenton (United States), June 28 (AP) — A Belgium-based chemical company will spend nearly $393 million to clean up New Jersey’s drinking water and soil of an alleged toxin, according to a settlement announced Wednesday. Permanent chemical pollution and compensation for the environmental damage they cause.

Solvay Specialty Polymers USA LLC has reached a legal settlement with the New Jersey Attorney General’s Office and the Department of Environmental Protection over pollution at and near its West Deptford plant in southwestern New Jersey near Philadelphia.

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The state has been suing Solvay and many other companies to force them to clean up pollution from perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances, collectively known as PFAS chemicals. These substances are often called “forever chemicals” because they never break down and are difficult to remove from water and soil, said New Jersey Environmental Protection Commissioner Sean La Tourette.

These substances may harm fetuses and newborns and have been linked to kidney cancer, testicular cancer, and other diseases.

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They have been used for over 60 years and have become a necessity of modern life, where consumers want to protect clothes from stains or water spots and prevent food from sticking to cookware. They have been used in brands such as Stainmaster, Scotchgard, Teflon, Gore-Tex and Tyvek, according to the Environment Department.

“For years, corporations, including Solvay, have put economic interests ahead of our clean drinking water and the health of millions of people,” said Attorney General Matthew Platkin. They blatantly ignore the PFAS permanent chemicals that accumulate in our environment and in our bodies.”

Since 2019, New Jersey has been going after many other companies with similar pollution problems. Those cases are still being litigated, and La Tourrette acknowledged that the problems go far beyond the actions of one company.

“The PFAS challenges we face in New Jersey are deep, significant, and this action alone will not solve them,” La Tourette said.

Mike Finelli, chief officer of Solvay North America, said the settlement allowed “all parties to continue to focus on cleaning the environment.”

He said the company had been investigating and remediating PFAS at the West Deptford plant since 2013, including working with the town to install a drinking water treatment system on the municipal well; installing a cover at the Solvay plant to stop the spread of contamination; building and operate the off-site groundwater pumping and treatment system, and enhance the on-site groundwater treatment system.

Finelli said the company’s products are used in a range of applications, including lithium-ion batteries, compact engine components for hybrid vehicles, medical device components and smart devices.

For more than 30 years, the Solvay West Deptford facility has produced industrial plastics, coatings and other chemicals across the Delaware River from Philadelphia International Airport.

The settlement calls for Solvay to clean up pollution on and around its site, work with the state government to limit ongoing discharges and test the region’s public and private water sources for the pollutant.

The company will pay $214 million to guarantee that the environment ministry will have funds to complete the cleanup if Solvay fails to meet its obligations. It will also pay $100 million to address PFAS impacts on drinking water or private wells in more than a dozen communities.

Solvay must also spend $75 million to compensate the public for damages to natural resources and pay $3.7 million to compensate the Department of the Environment for its enforcement efforts in the case.

Environmental groups have reacted cautiously to the settlement, saying many of its details need to be studied.

“Communities in the Delaware River region, indelibly harmed by Solvay and the highly toxic pollution it unleashes, suffer horribly and need to directly benefit from any resolution reached between the Department of the Environment and Solvay ,” said Tracy Carluccio, deputy director of the Department of the Environment. Delaware River Guardian Network.

“It’s long overdue to force Solvay to pay and clean up,” added Action Clean Water state director Amy Goldsmith. “Polluters like Solvay deserve this book and more for what they’ve done.”

Bill Wolf, a former Environment Department official and longtime critic of the agency, said most of the payments Solvay will make are required under existing Department of Environment regulations and should not be viewed as a result of litigation. (Associated Press)

(This is an unedited and auto-generated story from a syndicated news feed, the latest staff may not have revised or edited the body of content)


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