Search Site
Menu
New Jersey sues federal government over drinking water contamination allegedly caused by military base operations

On January 14, 2021, the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (“NJDEP”) brought suit against the federal government under the federal Safe Drinking Water Act (42 U.S.C. §§ 300f et seq.) and New Jersey’s Safe Drinking Water Act (N.J.S.A. §§ 58:12A-1 et seq.). The complaint alleges that contamination stemming from the use of aqueous film-forming foam (“AFFF”) on certain US military bases throughout the state has seeped into the state’s groundwater, causing contamination of the drinking water in multiple municipalities.

According to the complaint, AFFF is used in fire-fighting operations and is known to contain perfluorooctane sulfonic acid (“PFOS”) and perfluorooctanoic acid (“PFOA”), two types of the category of manufactured chemicals known as per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (“PFAS”). These two particular substances have been designated as “hazardous substances” under New Jersey law due to both their negative effects on human health and their persistence in the environment. Dubbed “forever chemicals,” PFOS and PFOA do not naturally break down in the environment and are unaffected by conventional treatment systems for drinking water.

In June 2020, the NJDEP released new regulations reflecting the danger these “forever chemicals” pose by decreasing the allowable limits of PFOS and PFOA concentrations in drinking water. According to these regulations, the limit for PFOS is 13 ppt and for PFOA the standard is 14 ppt. See N.J.A.C. 7:9C., Appx. These restrictions go beyond the federal requirements, which currently limit PFOS and PFOA concentrations to a combined 70 ppt. Through its complaint, New Jersey asserts that samples taken throughout one of the military bases that is an alleged source of drinking water contamination recorded combined levels of PFOS and PFOA as high as 264,300 ppt, far exceeding both the federal and state limits. According to the NJDEP’s June press release regarding the new regulations, the human health concerns related to PFOS and PFOA include liver issues, delays in growth and development for fetuses and infants, and an increased risk of cancer.

You can read the full text of the complaint here: https://www.nj.gov/oag/newsreleases21/COMPLAINT(AFFF).pdf

Our Attorneys

Recent Twitter Posts

  • New report finds that significant offshore wind capacity exists along the Atlantic coast. https://t.co/EQG8d5VMw2
    3 months ago
  • The Murphy Administration plans to spend $200 million on wind port. https://t.co/Se09U5ZHvy
    4 months ago
  • NJDEP aims to simplify permitting process. https://t.co/UTm92DtrAC
    4 months ago
  • U.S. Supreme Court will hear PennEast Pipeline appeal of New Jersey eminent domain dispute. https://t.co/AqqvTw1QD2
    4 months ago

Recent Blog Posts

Tenants Must Be Informed of Lead in their drinking water

Governor Murphy just signed legislation (S968/A2836) that will require landlords to notify tenants of elevated lead levels. This is particularly meaning in New Jersey where we have many people impacted
Read More
Tenants Must Be Informed of Lead in their drinking water

NJDEP new stormwater regulations are in effect

Developers in New Jersey must now meet the State’s new stormwater regulations. New Jersey has had numerous generations of stormwater regulations, some of which have had to be revised following
Read More
NJDEP new stormwater regulations are in effect

New Jersey families allege birth defects and severe illnesses due to major chemical companies’ discharges and emissions

Families in New Jersey have filed multiple lawsuits in the District Court of New Jersey alleging that their birth defects and/or illnesses are the result of chemical pollution. Four suits
Read More
New Jersey families allege birth defects and severe illnesses due to major chemical companies’ discharges and emissions

Warehouse Construction in NJ May Be Curtailed in Proposed Legislation

New Jersey State Senate subcommittees are currently considering a bill (S-3688) that aims to dramatically slow shipping and distribution warehouse construction across the State. Recently it seems that is the
Read More
Warehouse Construction in NJ May Be Curtailed in Proposed Legislation

In the media

  • Gulf Coast Town Center facing foreclosure

    Naples Daily News, September 16, 2015

    Wells Fargo filed a lawsuit Sept. 8 against an affiliate of CBL & Associates, the owners of the decadeold, 1.2 million-square-foot mall in south Fort Myers for a $190.9 million unpaid loan. The center has 94 stores on 204 acres, with such anchors as Super Target, Belk, Best Buy, Dick’s Sporting Goods, Marshalls and Costco...

    Read More
  • Town liable for private company's leaking underground tanks, court rules

    NJ.com Jul 26, 2017

    CRANFORD -- A couple that owned a businesses in town and became sick from leaking underground tanks owned by an adjacent business can sue the township for damages because the tanks were partially ...

    Read More
  • Dark Waters: How a Class Action Catapulted NJ to Forefront of 'Forever Chemicals' Battle

    NJ Law Journal Jan 09, 2020

    As property owners become increasingly aware of PFAS contamination, and as individuals exposed to PFAS learn of the health risks associated with exposure, liability will likely affect entire supply chains.

    Read More
  1. 1
  2. 2
  3. 3
  4. 4
  5. 5
Contact Our Firm

Quick Contact Form