Lawsuit settled over well pollution

Source:, April 27, 2012
By: Peggy Wright

State to get $950,000 for cost of cleaning 4 towns’ water supply

A Florham Park alloy manufacturer and a deceased man’s estate have agreed to pay $950,000 toward the cleanup 14 years ago of contaminants found in a well that supplies drinking water to residents of four towns in Morris County.

Without any admissions of liability for the contamination, SMCMUA Executive Director Bill Hutchinson said the water did not pose a danger to customers. Court records said that Black Brook Well 1, located on property at Morristown Airport in Hanover Township, showed excessive levels of dichloroethane and trichloroethylene but its water was always blended with water in Well 2 so the end result was acceptable water quality.

Before filing suit, the DEP tried in 1998 to direct Precision to spend $1.77 million on installing air strippers to decontaminate Black Brook Well 1, but the demand was resisted, court records said.

Instead, the DEP undertook the cleanup and filed suit to recover remediation costs. The agreement by defendants to pay a total of $950,000 to end the litigation has been reached. Attorney Damon Sedita, who represents the Horstmann estate and a Horstmann-owned entity called Great Meadows Land Development Corp., declined to say how the $950,000 would be split between the multiple defendants.

In general, he said, the litigation dragged on because; “It was all over the dollars.”

The DEP earlier in April published notice of the consent judgment in the New Jersey Register.

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