West Windsor Town Council held a closed session before its regular business meeting on Monday, October 15, to discuss the town’s participation in an arbitration program regarding land contamination at a site near the Millstone River. Council later authorized a $3,000 agreement with FTI Consulting Inc. for services in the case.
Township Attorney Michael W. Herbert explained that a property near the Plainsboro border and along Millstone River was once used as a dump by the Lincroft-based Castoro Construction Company, which specializes in roadwork. “The company did various road projects in Mercer and Middlesex counties and at Princeton University, pretty much for every big actor in the area, whether a municipality or corporation,” he said.
While doing the road projects, the company would take out road spoils and dump them at the property. “With road spoils, when you break up asphalt and the material there are chemicals there, and the property was contaminated. Under the spill act, Castoro is now suing everyone that they did work for to help clean up the property,” Herbert said.
The spill act does not permit a town to claim that it didn’t know the possible causes and effects of situation involving land conditions. Herbert said if a township is not at fault but it contributed materials that helped cause the contamination, then it is obligated to help pay for the cleanup.
“The arbitration program is to figure out who owes what. We still have to pay because it was still our materials,” he said.
“The DEP went after Castoro to get the property cleaned up, but in turn Castoro is suing everybody else,” he said.