ExxonMobil will pay New Jersey $9.5 million to resolve a lawsuit brought against the oil company on behalf of the Department of Environmental Protection.

The judgment announced Monday stems from a 2019 lawsuit centered on dumping activity that took place at ExxonMobil's 12-acre Lail site in East Greenwich Township and Paulsboro Borough.

According to the lawsuit, Mobil Corp. in the late 1950s used the Lail property to dispose of drums filled with petroleum products and other hazardous substances. The property sits in a tidal area of the Delaware Estuary and is directly connected to the Mantua Creek, which runs into the Delaware River.

Before the Natural Resource Damages lawsuit was filed, inspections and testing found that certain hazardous substances, known as polychlorinated biphenyls, remained on and around the property, including in groundwater, soil, and sediment, despite efforts to remediate the site. PCBs are known to pose multiple health risks to animals and humans.

ExxonMobil Lail site in Paulsboro (NJ Attorney General's Office)
ExxonMobil Lail site in Paulsboro (NJ Attorney General's Office)

"This is an important outcome for New Jersey residents, because it means compensation to the state for damage visited upon our wetlands, waterways and other precious natural resources, said Acting Attorney General Matthew Platkin. "When polluters treat some of our most pristine and sensitive areas as their own private disposal grounds, we hold them accountable."

Drums containing hazardous material were removed from the Lail site in the mid-1990s, according to New Jersey officials. Additional remedial activity took place between 2008 and 2010, including the removal of approximately 86,000 cubic yards of contaminated soil and sediment. ExxonMobil also planted trees, shrubs and aquatic plants at the property.

With the judgment, New Jersey and ExxonMobil agree that no further remediation is anticipated for the site.

New Jersey in 2015 settled a lawsuit against ExxonMobil for contamination at refineries in Linden and Bayonne, for $225 million.

Dino Flammia is a reporter for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach him at dino.flammia@townsquaremedia.com

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