Hexavalent Chromium Cleanup Suit Can Proceed

A lawsuit calling for the cleanup of industrial waste generated by PPG Industries in a highly populated area of Jersey City got the go ahead Tuesday from a federal district judge in Newark.

PPG has yet to comply with a 1990 state mandate to remove hexavalent chromium from land surrounding a PPG production facility, according to the lawsuit. The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and the Interfaith Community Organization filed the lawsuit in February 2009.

Even though the state has already ordered PPG to decontaminate the site, Nancy Marks, a senior attorney with NRDC, says pursuing the case will open the door for cleanup efforts that go beyond New Jersey's efforts, which she suggests may not go far enough.

"The court can impose whatever standard is necessary to clean it up," she says. "There's no point cleaning it up if it's not going to be cleaned to protective standards."

Hexavalent chromium is a toxic compound that can cause numerous health problems, including cancer, respiratory ailments, and kidney and liver damage, according to the NRDC.

PPG spokesman Jeremy Neuhart said in a statement that the company is evaluating the decision. "PPG will continue to satisfy its remedial obligations in New Jersey," he said.

Associate Editor

Lauren Williamson

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