HAMILTON TOWNSHIP (MERCER)– Hamilton Firefighters quickly extinguished a fire that broke out at a church in the 200 block of Main Street.
Firefighters responded to the New Horizon Baptist Church just before 6:30 pm for a fire alarm activation. While responding, the assignment was upgraded to a reported building fire.
Crews arrived on the scene and reported heavy fire, and the first alarm was called. Two hose lines were stretched into operation to quickly knock down the fire, keeping it isolated to one section of the building. It was placed under control at 6:45 pm.
It appears roof work was being done at the time of the fire, however it is unknown if the construction is related to the cause of the fire.
This building also happens to be the former Groveville District #9 Firehouse, before relocation to their new firehouse on Crosswicks Hamilton Square Road.
Locally, the State’s lawsuit against Trenton auto recycling facility KAARS, Inc., and its owner Isam Abuhumoud alleges violations of the Water Pollution Control Act, the Solid Waste Management Act, and the Spill Compensation and Control Act.
May 10, 2021
TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal and Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) Acting Commissioner Shawn M. LaTourette announced today the filing of nine new environmental enforcement actions across the State, including seven to hold polluters accountable for contamination in environmentally overburdened communities.
The seven lawsuits focused on overburdened communities address pollution in Camden, Trenton, Kearny, Secaucus, Edison, Bridgeton and Egg Harbor City. The two additional cases are based in Butler and Vineland.
Collectively, the Complaints involve a broad range of alleged environmental abuses by the defendant property owners and other responsible parties, including:
Illegal dumping that allowed massive quantities of contaminated soil, construction and demolition debris — along with contaminated old tires and other refuse — to accumulate in near residences;
The release of gasoline and other toxic chemicals from underground storage tanks, contaminating soil and groundwater; and
Releases of chemical and food waste contaminants into stormwater drains and, ultimately, surface bodies of water.
These cases represent yet another component of the Murphy Administration’s comprehensive effort to address harms disproportionately affecting the health and well-being of the state’s most vulnerable populations.
Including the lawsuits announced today, Attorney General Grewal and the Department of Environmental Protection have filed 39 environmental justice cases since 2018. The lawsuits have yielded nearly $20 million in judgments. More important, many of these cases also have resulted in court orders requiring responsible parties perform cleanup activities to protect human health and the environment. These orders also achieve cost savings to the taxpayers by holding polluters and other responsible parties financially accountable.
“From Day One of the Murphy Administration, we’ve been committed to ensuring that all New Jersey residents can enjoy clean air, clean drinking water and a safe environment,” said Attorney General Grewal. “That’s environmental justice, and everyone deserves it. The cases we’re announcing today are only the latest actions we’ve taken to deliver on our commitment to environmental justice, and the latest reminder to polluters that they will be held accountable – whether they’re illegally dumping waste in our cities or polluting our fields and rivers.”
“To further the promise of environmental justice, we must aggressively enforce our laws in communities disproportionately burdened by pollution,” said Acting DEP Commissioner Shawn LaTourette. “Enforcement actions like these embody our commitment to protecting vulnerable communities and make clear the consequences for creating or contributing to environmental injustice. My DEP colleagues and I are grateful to Attorney General Grewal and his team for their passion for equity and their partnership in action.”
The contaminants at issue in all of today’s lawsuits are linked to serious health problems including respiratory distress and certain lung illnesses, cancer, neurological disorders, kidney disease, liver disease and eye damage.
Today’s nine Complaints seek a variety of remedies, including clean-up of the contaminated properties, compliance with DEP Administrative Orders and other outstanding DEP requirements, payment of civil penalties, and reimbursement to the State for the cost of site investigation, remediation, monitoring and other related work.
Today’s lawsuits include seven cases located in environmental justice communities and two located outside environmental justice communities:
The State’s Complaint alleges that S. Yaffa and Sons, Inc. and its owner, William Yocco, unlawfully imported and stockpiled solid waste — including contaminated soil, construction and demolition debris, and waste tires — at its property in the City of Camden for years before selling the site to Weyhill Realty Holdings in July 2019. Weyhill Realty Holdings allegedly failed to remove the waste, and continued to allow illegal dumping on site, receiving more construction and demolition debris and comingling it with contaminated soil. In addition, the State’s Complaint alleges that a 500-gallon underground fuel storage tank potentially remains on the property, which, because of its potential to leak gasoline, would pose a danger.
The Complaint alleges violations of New Jersey’s Solid Waste Management Act and the Underground Storage of Hazardous Substances Act, and seeks to enforce a prior DEP order and collect penalties for non-compliance.
The State’s Complaint stems from the operations of a former gas station at 1065 Amboy Avenue – and specifically from issues related to underground tanks used to store gasoline. On multiple occasions over the years, DEP has detected gasoline contamination on the property and confirmed the presence of such harmful chemicals as benzene, methyl tert-butyl ether (MTBE), and xylenes in soil and groundwater. The Complaint alleges violations of the Spill Act, the Water Pollution Control Act, and the Underground Storage of Hazardous Substances Act.
Named defendants in the suit include former property owner James Mezey; Cherokee Equities, LLC; 1065 Amboy Avenue, LLC; ERC7, LLC; 19 Petroleum Distributors, Inc.; G&V Fuel Corporation, Inc., and NJ Petroleum Distributors, Inc. The site currently operates as an auto repair garage and auto body shop, and those business are not defendants.
The State’s Complaint alleges that defendant Thomas Dailey purchased the property at issue in 1992 and subsequently had two underground fuel storage tanks removed without a required tank decommissioning plan and site investigation. In 2015, DEP inspectors found a third underground fuel storage tank still on the property. The Complaint alleges violations of the Underground Storage of Hazardous Substances Act in connection with all three tanks by Dailey and/or 330 Angle Sea LLC, a company which Dailey owns and to which he sold the property in 2017. Among other things, the Complaint seeks to compel the removal of the remaining underground storage tank, the hiring of a Licensed Site Remediation Professional to investigate and remediate any hazardous discharges, payment of a civil penalty, and compensation to DEP for any costs it has or will incur in connection with the property.
The State’s Complaint against defendant Wilenta Feed, Inc., alleges violation of the State’s Water Pollution Control Act. Wilenta operates a food waste recycling business at 46 Henry Street in Secaucus that involves converting food waste — largely bakery products — into animal feed or animal feed ingredients. According to the Complaint, Wilenta has been unlawfully storing its food waste in open-air piles, thereby exposing the waste to stormwater, which enters the sewer system and, ultimately, into such surface water bodies as Penhorn Creek, a tributary of the Hackensack River. In addition to seeking a court order directing Wilenta to halt its open-air storage of food waste, today’s lawsuit seeks civil penalties against Wilenta and reimbursement to the State for costs it has incurred, or will incur, to investigate, inspect and monitor the property.
The State’s lawsuit against Trenton auto recycling facility KAARS, Inc., and its owner Isam Abuhumoud alleges violations of the Water Pollution Control Act, the Solid Waste Management Act, and the Spill Compensation and Control Act.
According to the Complaint, activity at KAARS involves dismantling cars and trucks to salvage certain parts for sale, which among other things yields solvents, greases and such fluids as brake fluid, anti-freeze and motor oil. Under DEP permitting requirements, KAARS must manage its stormwater run-off so that pollutants generated by its operations do not end up in the sewer system serving the property, which carries stormwater to Assunpink Creek and, eventually, to the Delaware River. The State’s lawsuit alleges that KAARS’ poor management of auto scrap, chemicals and other wastes has resulted in uncontrolled pollutant discharges that threaten water quality in the area, which includes a city park, residences, and an elementary school.
The State’s Complaint against Isaac Moradi centers on a former gas station at 941 Passaic Avenue in Kearny that backs up to an embankment of the Passaic River and that was contaminated with petroleum products including gasoline prior to Moradi’s acquisition of the property in 2016. According to the State’s Complaint, an investigation of the property in 2007 revealed significant contamination of groundwater and soil, much of it ultimately traced to an out of service, 12,000-gallon underground fuel storage tank. The State’s lawsuit alleges violation of the Spill Compensation and Control Act and the common law of public nuisance.
The State’s Complaint centers on a “gas-and-go” service station property at 501 White Horse Pike in Egg Harbor City, and names property owner Arjun Goyal, of West Deptford, as the sole defendant. Five fuel storage tanks containing unleaded gasoline once existed on the property, and although they have been removed, DEP has found evidence that the tanks leaked into the soil. Groundwater sampling has detected excessive levels of such petroleum-related chemical toxins as benzene, ethyl benzene, xylenes, methyl tertiary butyl ether, tertiary-butyl alcohol, toluene and lead. The Complaint seeks enforcement of, and penalties for non-compliance with, a prior DEP order to remediate the site, among other relief.
The State’s Complaint against Avalon-based Sasdelli Oil Company, Inc.; its owner, Terry Sasdelli of Asheville, NC; and corporate entities Vineland 820 Main Road, LLC and Vineland Chestnut Avenue, LLC centers on a contaminated gas station property at 820 N. Main Road in Vineland. According to the Complaint, excessive levels of petroleum-product-related contaminants have been found in soil and groundwater on the property, including benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene, xylenes, lead, methyl tertiary-butyl ether (MTBE) and naphthalene.
The State’s Complaint alleges violations of the Spill Compensation and Control Act and Water Pollution Control Act, and also claims each defendant was unjustly enriched through their failure to perform or fund required remediation work on the property. The Complaint seeks a court order directing the defendants to remediate the property, pay civil penalties and reimburse DEP for related costs incurred by the State.
The State’s Complaints alleges that The Car House, a Morris County used auto dealership, sold a Nissan 350-Z coup in August 2019 that had been tampered with through removal of the catalytic converters that were part of the vehicle’s original emissions control system. The purchaser only learned of the unlawful modification when the car failed an inspection, according to the Complaint.
New Jersey law prohibits the sale of a gasoline-fueled motor vehicle in which an emissions control device installed by the original vehicle manufacturer has been disconnected, detached, deactivated, or in any other way altered or modified from the original design. According to the State’s Complaint, tailpipe emissions from such vehicles cause increased levels of harmful pollutants like hydrocarbons, nitrogen oxides (NOx), and carbon monoxide — pollutants known to trigger or aggravate human respiratory diseases.
Today’s lawsuit alleges that dealership violated New Jersey’s Air Pollution Control Act by selling an unlawfully tampered vehicle, and that it has failed to pay a civil penalty imposed two years ago. The suit seeks payment of that civil penalty, as well as restitution to the buyer of the tampered Nissan.
Today’s enforcement actions are being handled by the Environmental Enforcement and Environmental Justice (EEEJ) Section within the Division of Law’s Affirmative Civil Enforcement Practice Group, including Assistant Attorney General Aaron Kleinbaum, Section Chief Gary Wolf, Assistant Section Chief Paul Stofa, and Deputy Attorneys General Bethanne Prugh, Willis Doerr, Robert Kinney, Thomas Lihan, Daniel Resler, Matthew Novak, Andrew Verdone, Mark Fisher, Matthew Knoblauch and Pragya Singh.
ACCORDING TO NJ STATE POLICE INFANT HAS BEEN FOUND SAFE:
**AMBER ALERT****UPDATE** Chinna Payne, a 2-week-old baby girl, of East Orange, N.J. has been safely located.
EAST ORANGE, NJ — The New Jersey State Police is activating the Amber Abducted Child Alert Plan. The East Orange Police Department is investigating a confirmed child abduction which occurred on May 10, 2021 at 26 Lindsley Place in East Orange, NJ at 1245 PM. The child, Chinna Payne, is a female infant. and was last seen at 26 Lindsley Place in East Orange. The suspect, Damion Payne, age 27, was last seen operating a 2016 white Nissan Altima bearing VA registration UPF6043. Damion Payne is considered armed and dangerous. Recommended Action: Anyone having information regarding these individuals you are urged to Immediately call 9-1-1. East Orange Police Department 973-266-5000
Move slider to 3:41 for President Joe Biden’s remarks on the Colonial Pipeline.
May 10, 2021
Update — Monday, May 10, 12:25 p.m.
Colonial Pipeline continues to dedicate vast resources to restoring pipeline operations quickly and safely. Segments of our pipeline are being brought back online in a stepwise fashion, in compliance with relevant federal regulations and in close consultation with the Department of Energy, which is leading and coordinating the Federal Government’s response.
Restoring our network to normal operations is a process that requires the diligent remediation of our systems, and this takes time. In response to the cybersecurity attack on our system, we proactively took certain systems offline to contain the threat, which temporarily halted all pipeline operations, and affected some of our IT systems. To restore service, we must work to ensure that each of these systems can be brought back online safely.
While this situation remains fluid and continues to evolve, the Colonial operations team is executing a plan that involves an incremental process that will facilitate a return to service in a phased approach. This plan is based on a number of factors with safety and compliance driving our operational decisions, and the goal of substantially restoring operational service by the end of the week. The Company will provide updates as restoration efforts progress.
We continue to evaluate product inventory in storage tanks at our facilities and others along our system and are working with our shippers to move this product to terminals for local delivery. Actions taken by the Federal Government to issue a temporary hours of service exemption for motor carriers and drivers transporting refined products across Colonial’s footprint should help alleviate local supply disruptions and we thank our government partners for their assistance in resolving this matter.
Our primary focus continues to be the safe and efficient restoration of service to our pipeline system, while minimizing disruption to our customers and all those who rely on Colonial Pipeline. We appreciate the patience of the traveling public and the support we have received from the Federal Government and our peers throughout the industry.
The FBI confirms that the Darkside ransomware is responsible for the compromise of the Colonial Pipeline networks. We continue to work with the company and our government partners on the investigation.
REGIONAL EMERGENCY DECLARATION UNDER 49 CFR § 390.23 No. 2021-002
ALABAMA, ARKANSAS, DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA, DELAWARE, FLORIDA, GEORGIA, KENTUCKY, LOUISIANA, MARYLAND, MISSISSIPPI, NEW JERSEY, NEW YORK, NORTH CAROLINA, PENNSYLVANIA, SOUTH CAROLINA, TENNESSEE, TEXAS, AND VIRGINIA
In accordance with the provisions of 49 CFR § 390.23, the Regional Field Administrators for the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s (FMCSA) Eastern, Southern, and Western Service Centers hereby declares that an emergency exists that warrants issuance of a Regional Emergency Declaration and an exemption from Parts 390 through 399 of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety (FMCSRs), except as otherwise restricted in this Emergency Declaration. Such emergency is in response to the unanticipated shutdown of the Colonial pipeline system due to network issues that affect the supply of gasoline, diesel, jet fuel, and other refined petroleum products throughout the Affected States. This Declaration addresses the emergency conditions creating a need for immediate transportation of gasoline, diesel, jet fuel, and other refined petroleum products and provides necessary relief. Affected States and jurisdictions included in this Emergency Declaration (“Affected States”) are: Alabama, Arkansas, District of Columbia, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia.
By execution of this Emergency Declaration, motor carriers and drivers providing direct assistance to the emergency in the Affected States in direct support of relief efforts related to the shortages of gasoline, diesel, jet fuel, and other refined petroleum products due to the shutdown, partial shutdown, and/or manual operation of the Colonial pipeline system are granted relief from Parts 390 through 399 of Title 49 Code of Federal Regulations except as restricted herein.
This Emergency Declaration provides for regulatory relief for commercial motor vehicle operations while providing direct assistance supporting emergency relief efforts transporting gasoline, diesel, jet fuel, and other refined petroleum products into the Affected States during the emergency from shortages due to the shutdown, partial shutdown, and/or manual operation of the Colonial pipeline system. Direct assistance terminates when a driver or commercial motor vehicle is used in interstate commerce to transport cargo or provide services not in support of emergency relief efforts related to the shortages of gasoline, diesel, jet fuel, and other refined petroleum products due to the shutdown, partial shutdown, and/or manual operation of the Colonial pipeline system in the Affected States, or when the motor carrier dispatches a driver or commercial motor vehicle to another location to begin operations in commerce. (49 CFR § 390.23(b)). Upon termination of direct assistance to emergency relief efforts related to the shortages of gasoline, diesel, jet fuel, and other refined petroleum products due to the shutdown, partial shutdown and/or manual operation of the Colonial pipeline system in the Affected States, the motor carrier and driver are subject to the requirements of 49 CFR Parts 390 through 399, except that a driver may return empty to the motor carrier’s terminal or the driver’s normal work reporting location without complying with Parts 390 through 399. When a driver is moving from emergency relief efforts to normal operations a 10-hour break is required when the total time a driver operates conducting emergency relief efforts, or a combination of emergency relief and normal operation, equals 14 hours.
All other applicable safety requirements remain in place and will be enforced by the FMCSA. Specifically, nothing contained in this Emergency Declaration shall be construed as an exemption from the controlled substances and alcohol use and testing requirements (49 CFR Part 382), the commercial driver’s license requirements (49 CFR Part 383), the financial responsibility (insurance) requirements (49 CFR Part 387), the hazardous material regulations (49 CFR Parts 100-180), applicable size and weight requirements, or any other portion of the regulations not specifically authorized pursuant to 49 CFR § 390.23.
Motor carriers or drivers currently subject to an out-of-service order are not eligible for the relief granted by this declaration until they have met the applicable conditions for its rescission and the order has been rescinded by FMCSA.
In accordance with 49 CFR § 390.23, this declaration is effective immediately and shall remain in effect until the end of the emergency (as defined in 49 CFR § 390.5) or until 11:59 P.M. (ET), June 8, 2021, whichever is earlier. FMCSA intends to continually review the status of this Emergency Declaration and may take action to modify or terminate the Emergency Declaration sooner if conditions warrant.
Taft Kelly, Regional Field Administrator Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration Eastern Service Center
Darrell L. Ruban, Regional Field Administrator Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration Southern Service Center
Scott G. Hernandez, Regional Field Administrator Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration Western Service Center
Related MidJersey.news coverage on Colonial Pipeline incident here:
JACKSON, NJ (OCEAN)–On Saturday May 8, 2021 at approximately 4:50 pm, officers were dispatched to respond to a report of a stabbing incident which had occurred on Maria Street.
Police Officer Robert Reiff arrived on scene to discover a female who was suffering from a large slash across her face and bleeding heavily. The investigation would reveal that the female had been followed to her residence by an unknown male who initiated a confrontation with her over an alleged road rage incident. It was reported that the male punched the victim and threatened to kill her as he held a knife to her throat and then slashed her face. As a neighbor intervened and called 911, the suspect fled the area.
A description of the suspect and suspect vehicle was obtained and a short time later as Sgt. Michael Kelly was responding to the scene, he observed the vehicle on Toms River Road. Sgt. Kelly activated the patrol unit’s emergency lights and conducted a motor vehicle stop with the suspect. As the sergeant exited his vehicle, the suspect vehicle pulled away from him. A pursuit was then initiated as the suspect fled at a high rate of speed. As the suspect attempted to make a turn from Toms River Road onto West Veterans Highway, he swerved into the opposite lane of travel and struck a vehicle near the intersection. Other officers responding to the scene stopped to render aid to the occupants of that vehicle. The suspect then continued to operate the 2018 Kia he was driving recklessly and at a high rate of speed at which time the sergeant terminated the pursuit.
As the suspect continued at a high rate of speed, he struck another vehicle in the rear on West Veterans Highway and forced it off the road into the woods across from the Switlik School. The suspect vehicle travelled for approximately another 500 feet before it became disabled on West Veterans Highway and the suspect was taken into custody by P.O. Andy Falzarano who had been responding to the scene. The vehicle was later impounded and the knife used in the incident was recovered as detectives responded to assist with the investigation. Officers from the Ocean County Sheriff’s CSI unit and investigators from the Ocean County Prosecutors Office also responded to process the scenes and collect evidence.
The stabbing victim was transported to an area hospital for treatment and the occupants of the two vehicles struck by the suspect were treated at the scene for minor injuries.
Michael Mahan, age 38 of Ewing Township, NJ. He was charged with: attempted murder, aggravated assault, possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose, unlawful possession of a weapon, terroristic threats, eluding, aggravated assault (causing bodily injury during a pursuit: 6 counts), driving while intoxicated, refusal to submit to breath testing and multiple other motor vehicle offenses. He was processed and transported to the Ocean County Jail.
As the investigation proceeded during the evening, it was also discovered that Mr. Mahan had been involved with a separate incident with a Lakehurst Avenue resident just before the stabbing where he reportedly threatened the victim after parking in front of his residence. Complaints are pending with that incident.
– The media and the public are reminded that any persons arrested or charged with any offenses or crimes are presumed innocent until proven guilty in court.
UPPER FREEHOLD TOWNSHIP, NJ (MONMOUTH)-ROBBINSVILLE, NJ (MERCER)– A milling and paving project is scheduled for Tuesday May 11, 2021 though Thursday May 13, 2021. The resurfacing project will be on Old York Road County Road 539 in the area of New Sharon between Herbert Road and Gordon Road.
The work is scheduled to start at 7:00 a.m. and conclude by 3:00 p.m. each of the three days so plan an alternate route if traveling in the area.
The west side of Old York Road is Robbinsville Mercer County, and the east side of the road is Upper Freehold Township, Monmouth County.
The paving limits are from Walters Road to New Street. Old York Road 539 will be milled on Tuesday, May 11, paved on Wednesday, May 12 and painted on Thursday, May 13. There will be detour signs to assist drivers in moving around the project.
Director of the Monmouth County Board of County Commissioners
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