Connecticut is putting indirect pressure on users of hazardous materials, to make them be more careful. Connecticut's Industrial Transfer Law requires any business selling property to notify the buyer and the state Environmental Protection Department (EPD) in Hartford about any wastes that are, or were, stored on-site, or, if the site is contaminated, to clean up the site on a EPD-approved schedule. Failure to notify the seller or the EPD about on-site wastes, or providing false information about contamination at the site, makes the seller liable for cleanup costs and for a penalty of up to $100,000. The Connecticut law covers all sellers who generate, transport or dispose of over 100 kilograms (220 pounds) of hazardous materials per month. The Connecticut law was passed in 1985 and was amended, effective October 1, 1987, to apply to any sites where hazardous materials have been used at any time since April 30, 1967.
New Jersey has an even more comprehensive property transfer law called ECRA (Environmental Cleanup Responsibility Act) which says industrial property cannot be sold until it has been inspected and certified clean by the NJ Department of Environmental Protection. Failure to comply with ECRA invalidates a sale. The ECRA law is unpopular among industrialists in NJ because the state has not been able to inspect properties in a timely fashion, thus causing many delays in property transfers. The law is being amended, some fear gutted, now in the state legislature.
Ocean County, New Jersey, has passed a local version of ECRA to cover residential property. As a result of groundwater contamination by Ciba-Geigy and other polluters in Ocean County, the county government now requires any residential property to have its water supply tested before it can be sold.
For further information on the Connecticut law, contact Jack
Gelting, Connecticut Environmental Protection Department, 165
Capitol Ave., Hartford, CT 06106; phone (203) 566-5473. For a
copy of NJ's ECRA law, contact the Secretary of State, 125 West
State St., Trenton, NJ 08625; phone (609) 984-1900. The Ocean
County law is available from County Clerk, Ocean County
Administration Building, CN 2191, Toms River, NJ 08754; phone
(201) 244-2121; ask for the law requiring water testing prior to
sale of residential properties.
--Peter Montague, Ph.D.
Descriptor terms: regulation; ct; nj; remedial action; ecra;