News Flash

Jim Holzapfel

Posted on: August 22, 2023

10th District Legislators: DEP and BASF Settlement of Ciba-Geigy Superfund Site Falls Short

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Senator Jim Holzapfel, Assemblyman Greg McGuckin, and Assemblyman John Catalano continue to pledge their support of Save Barnegat Bay and Toms River Township by opposing the Department of Environmental Protection's settlement with the current owners of the Ciba-Geigy superfund site, BASF.

The settlement which was announced this week by the state Department of Environmental Protection with the BASF chemical company has been a primary source of stress, concern, and health problems for residents. Toxic waste from the site contaminated groundwater resulting in a cancer cluster among children.

"For decades the residents of Toms River have endured the nightmare surrounding the Ciba site and they demand justice and compensation for the toxic waste that leached into the groundwater," stated Senator Holzapfel.

"It's a slap in the face to give a $500,000 fine to this company after all the damage and fear caused by the acts of their predecessor," continued Holzapfel. "The fear gripped the community for decades. Numerous pieces of legislation had to be passed to help strengthen the water system and remediate the area."

BASF Corp. became the owner of the property more than a dozen years ago when they acquired the Ciba Holding AG. BASF has agreed to preserve 1,000 acres of land to protect the groundwater resources and implement nine restoration projects on 375 acres of preserved land. In addition, BASF must also pay $500,000 to help the state oversee the costs of the plan.

"The environmental impacts of decades of dumping toxic waste just doesn't stop at the groundwater within the superfund site. It extends way beyond to include our rivers, the bay and ocean," continued Assemblyman McGuckin. "This settlement doesn't go far enough to address the full scope of the issue and the residents of Toms River deserve better than this."

The nonprofit organization, Save Barnegat Bay has hired a legal team specializing in natural resource cases where this issue will likely head to the courts.

"The settlement between the DEP and BASF is unacceptable and was crafted without any input from local elected officials or families who have lived in fear of the water in their taps and under their feet," added Assemblyman Catalano.

"Think of all the families and children that suffered because of their negligence, and this is the agreement they come to? It's not enough and quite frankly, it may never be," Assemblyman Catalano continued. "We will continue to stand by the residents of Toms River and join Save Barnegat Bay and the Mayor and Council in the fight for more accountability."

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