NY/NJ Baykeeper has used the citizen suit provisions in the federal Clean Water Act, Resource Conservation and Recovery Act, and state statutes to bring legal action against egregious public and private polluters. Our lawsuits have forced sewage treatment plants to upgrade and to come into compliance with their permits, and produced millions of dollars for habitat restoration and park construction through environmental benefit projects. We continue to investigate facilities that cause “imminent and substantial danger to human health and the environment” and adhere to our belief that polluters– not the public– pay to restore the resource to its prior condition before it was polluted.
- In 2009, NY/NJ Baykeeper and Edison Wetlands Association sued National Lead Industries and numerous co-defendants under the federal Resource Conservation and Recovery Act and the Clean Water Act for discharging hazardous waste and contaminants to the Raritan River in Sayreville. National Lead operated a pigment factory on a site on the Raritan and its misoperation severely contaminated the River and its sediments with various heavy metals including arsenic, lead, nickel, copper and zinc. As of May 2023, we’ve been pursuing this suit for 11 years after much delay from NL Industries. Our intent is to force them to delineate the contamination that they dumped into the Raritan River and to clean up that contamination if it exceeds regulatory standards.
- Baykeeper’s Public Trust Doctrine campaign put this ancient common law principal in the center of the debate for the redevelopment of the region’s waterfront. Through the PTD, we have defended the public’s inalienable right of access, not just to the water’s edge, but to freely and safely fish, swim, and boat in the Estuary. Click here to read more.
- Enforcement of Industrial Stormwater Regulations: Baykeeper serves notice to stormwater violators in conjunction with Super Law, a public
interest law firm. In NYC we have taken legal actions against storm water violators. Settling nearly all cases by forcing a correction of the violation and a give back to local communities for clean water related activities. Although originating in NYC, some cases impacted shared NY/NJ waters. So Baykeeper leveraged this to fund a rain garden implemented by Future City Inc,(Elizabeth), and we are currently directing other settlement funds to the Rahway River WS Association for streambank restoration. In 2023 we will be reviewing and acting on violations in the following New Jersey communities along the Arthur Kill and Kill Van Kull: Woodbridge, South Amboy, Carteret and Bayonne and Rahway. Information is often gathered from volunteers and local residents who have a long-standing relationship with Baykeeper and partner organizations.