Settlement Proposed to Restore Wetlands, Floodplains and Riverbank Along the Raritan River, New Jersey
DEC. 11, 2023 — On December 7, 2023, the US Department of Justice (DOJ) released a proposed legal settlement to compensate for natural resource injuries resulting from hazardous substance releases from the American Cyanamid Superfund Site in Bridgewater, New Jersey. The proposed settlement between DOJ and Wyeth Holdings LLC, addresses liability for past releases of hazardous substances at or near the American Cyanamid Superfund Site that impacted floodplain, riparian, upland, and wetland habitat adjacent to the Raritan River in New Jersey.
Under the consent decree for settlement, Wyeth Holdings LLC will create 112 acres of forested floodplains and vernal pools, while providing increased access to nature, through recreational opportunities such as birding and hiking, for local communities, including communities disproportionately affected by the pollution. Past and future costs associated with injury assessment and restoration monitoring and oversight are included in this settlement, as well as long-term stewardship of this restoration.
A Federal Register Notice will be released shortly starting the comment period on the proposed settlement and providing instructions on how to provide comments to DOJ.
Natural Resource Trustees (NOAA, DOI, and the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection) analyzed available data to assess potential environmental injuries and human-use losses related to these hazardous substance releases at the American Cyanamid Superfund Site. NOAA and other Trustees considered the types of restoration that could compensate for these losses. The Trustees’ assessment of injuries, proposed restoration alternatives and restoration recommendations are outlined in a draft restoration plan and environmental assessment. The final restoration plan will outline the specific requirements of restoration to be undertaken at the American Cyanamid Superfund site under the settlement proposed by the Department of Justice.
For more information about the American Cyanamid NRDA, visit the DARRP webpage.
History of the Site
The American Cyanamid site includes a 435-acre former industrial facility and adjacent areas that were contaminated as a result of releases of hazardous substances from the facility in Bridgewater, New Jersey. From 1915 through 1999, the facility was used for the manufacture of chemicals and pharmaceuticals as well as for coal tar distillation. For decades, numerous entities at or near the American Cyanamid Superfund Site released a variety of contaminants, such as volatile organic compounds (VOCs), semi-volatile organic compounds (SVOC)s, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), and metals, into the Raritan River and terrestrial environment adjacent to the American Cyanamid facility. In the Raritan River, concentrations of metals in sediment and surface water were observed at levels known to negatively impact aquatic life. The Environmental Protection Agency declared the American Cyanamid facility a Superfund site in 1983.