ATLANTIC CITY — The state is suing South Jersey Gas, the Deull Fuel Co. and other firms over contamination of a block of land near the bay where S.J. Gas has been cleaning up a former manufactured gas plant site for almost two years.
It is one of six major civil enforcement actions against alleged polluters announced Wednesday afternoon by Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal, including three Natural Resource Damage lawsuits.
South Jersey Gas spokeswoman Marissa Travaline said the company is still reviewing the lawsuit, which Grewal’s office has posted online, so it cannot comment yet. She said S.J. Gas had not been officially served with the suit.
But she stressed the company has worked as a partner with the state on the cleanup and will continue to do so.
Fuel company owner John Deull, reached at his home in Florida, said he had not spoken with his attorney but might have a comment Thursday.
Hazardous substances from the operation of the companies in and around 300 N. Georgia Ave. have found their way into groundwater and sediments in the bay nearby, Grewal said. Contaminants include polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, naphthalene, benzene, arsenic, cyanide and lead, he said. They are known to cause blood disorders and other serious health problems.
“It’s not just an environmental issue. It’s a public-health issue as well,” Grewal said. But he did not allege anyone’s health has been harmed.
“These actions are long overdue. This is a significant change in course from the Christie administration, which was more interested in settling for pennies on the dollar with big polluters like Exxon than protecting our communities,” said Ed Potosnak, executive director of the New Jersey League of Conservation Voters.
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