Appeal against DEP regarding Passaic River contamination dismissed

TRENTON – The appellate division of Superior Court has dismissed an appeal brought against the Department of Environmental Protection by numerous sewer authorities and towns regarding contamination in the Passaic River basin.

The authorities that sued, including Linden and Rahway sewer authorities, towns including Roselle Park and Union City, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, as well as several other entities, were turned back today by the court, which ruled they cannot “sidestep” appellate procedures.

“It may be inconvenient for appellants to wait for entry of a final order in the Passaic River litigation, and indeed, that delay may prove expensive,’’ the court ruled. But the court ruled that the legal procedure outweighs the parties’ “convenience.”

The case involves a 2005 DEP suit in Essex County still pending involving alleged discharge of toxic chemicals from manufacturers in Newark.

The DEP alleged that for 20 years companies such as Maxus Energy and Tierra Solutions had polluted the Newark Bay complex, the court explained in its ruling.

The companies in turn sued more than 300 entities seeking contributions under the Spill Act alleging they contributed to the contamination, the court said.

Coincidentally, a bill is moving through committees in the Legislature now that would help such third-party entities from being included against their will in such litigation.

Some of those third parties went to court to oppose inclusion under the Spill Act. They lost that battle, and then filed this most recent appeal, which the court today denied.

Appeal against DEP regarding Passaic River contamination dismissed