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EPA Teams Up With NJDEP to Assess Compliance of Facilities Around Exit 13 of the New Jersey Turnpike

Release Date: 06/30/2005
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FOR RELEASE: Thursday, June 30, 2005

(#05074) NEW YORK -- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today announced the completion of an enforcement and compliance initiative to reduce sources of pollution in and around the vicinity of Exit 13 of the New Jersey Turnpike, which includes Linden and Elizabeth, N.J. The Exit 13 Initiative began in response to EPA's concern about the possible environmental violations contributing to the longstanding odor problems in the area.

"Air emissions in the vicinity of Exit 13 can pose health risks and contribute to air pollution and environmental degradation," said Acting EPA Regional Administrator Kathleen Callahan. "EPA will continue to keep a watchful eye on these emissions to ensure that the health and safety of the people of Linden and Elizabeth are protected."

The Exit 13 Initiative was carried out by EPA and joined by NJDEP Exit EPA to work as a team. The team began by reviewing air studies, previously conducted in the vicinity, to determine potential pollutants of concern. Subsequently, the team conducted sampling and analyses to pinpoint sources of pollution and reviewed available data to better understand the range of industrial processes in the area. The team also visually surveyed the area to find potential pollution sources.

After compiling the data to pinpoint potential sources, a series of inspections were conducted at facilities in the vicinity of Exit 13, primarily bulk gasoline loading terminals in Linden and Elizabeth. Inspections found that:

    • ConocoPhillips Tremley Point Terminal in Linden was in violation of air monitoring requirements;
    • ST Linden Terminal was in violation of emissions testing, reporting, monitoring and record-keeping requirements;
    • Infineum's Bayway Chemical Plant in Linden had emissions and permit violations;
    • Exxon Mobil and Gulf Oil both had record-keeping violations.
EPA and NJDEP have taken enforcement actions to correct these violations.

EPA has also reached a major settlement with the ConocoPhillips Bayway facility, which will improve the environment in the area around Exit 13, in Linden. This settlement affects all the ConocoPhillips refineries nationwide and is consistent with similar settlements around the country that will bring most of the domestic refining capacity into compliance with the Clean Air Act. For the Bayway refinery, by December 31, 2008, ConocoPhillips will expend at least $8 million to install an American Petroleum Institute oil/water separator cover. This will reduce volatile organic compound emissions by at least 95%, and will reduce emissions of nitrogen oxide and sulfur dioxide and associated odors.

EPA and NJDEP further identified three industrial sectors for potential follow-up assistance: architectural coatings, auto refinishers and cold degreasers. As a result, NJDEP's Small Business Assistance Program (SBAP) conducted compliance assistance visits of auto refinishing shops in the Exit 13 area during spring 2005. The SBAP completed 14 site visits in Linden, Elizabeth, Rahway and Irvington, and mailed out 31 guidance documents to facilities in Linden and Elizabeth. The SBAP informed these shops on proper surface coating application methods, acceptable spray gun cleaning methods, keeping records of Volatile Organic Compound content in their surface coatings, employee training requirements and good housekeeping practices for paints and solvents.

In this cooperative action with the NJDEP, EPA was able to assess a wide range of potential environmental impacts on a well-defined geographic area, and take steps to enforce the law, while strengthening industry's ability to comply with the law.