A state Superior Court judge has ruled that the Occidental Chemical Corp. is liable for the $1 billion to $4 billion in costs associated with the cleanup of sediments in the lower Passaic River contaminated decades ago by Diamond Alkali/Diamond Shamrock Chemicals Corp., a now defunct Newark pesticide manufacturing plant.
Gov. Chris Christie on Tuesday called the ruling by Judge Sebastian P. Lombardi in Newark an important victory for New Jersey taxpayers.
Lombardi held that Occidental is responsible under state law for cleanup costs associated with pollution caused by Diamond Alkali/Diamond Shamrock, which it acquired and merged into itself in the 1980s.
Diamond Shamrock/Diamond Alkali operated a pesticide and herbicide manufacturing plant on Lister Avenue from 1951 to 1969, polluting the river with an extremely toxic form of dioxin that resulted from the production of the Vietnam War-era defoliant Agent Orange, as well as DDT and other chemicals.