New Jersey Environmental Tort Lawsuit Filed By Pompton Lakes Residents
Hundreds of residents of a New Jersey town have filed a toxic tort lawsuit against E.I. DuPont and Royle Systems Group for allegedly releasing dangerous contaminants into the community around Pompton Lakes and refusing to clean up the mess.
The Pompton Lakes, New Jersey environmental tort lawsuit was filed on March 4 in the Superior Court in Passaic County, N.J. More than 350 residents of the Passaic County borough are expected to eventually file claims involving allegations that DuPont and Royle caused homes to lose value and exposed residents to hazardous chemicals due to toxic releases from a munitions factor DuPont operated there from 1902 to 1994. Royle had an equipment manufacturing facility on part of the site from 1976 through 2009.
The claims are supported by New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection reports in 2008, which determined chemicals released by the facility into the local groundwater were vaporizing in the soil and then seeping into residents’ homes through the basements. In 1998, DuPont allegedly sent letters to residents saying there was no reason to suspect that there was vapor intrusion.
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State environmental investigators have determined that residents in the area affected by the vapor intrusions have elevated rates of kidney cancer and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Both health problems have been linked to PCE and TCE; chemicals used at the facilities to degrease machinery. However, the state said it could not make a direct causal link between the chemicals and the elevated cancer risks.
Since then, DuPont has agreed to install venting systems in Pompton Lake homes that would remove the vapors. The company is expected to submit plans for the installation of the systems in June.
Groundwater contamination from the facility has been confirmed by groundwater testing since the 1980s, and DuPont has been sued repeatedly by local residents who have used the courts to force the company to perform cleanup operations on the site.
The newest lawsuits claim that DuPont and Royle knew or should have known since the 1990s that there was risk of vapor intrusion by toxic chemicals released into the groundwater. They also claim that the companies took no real steps to remove or reduce the risk of exposure to residents.
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