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Citgo Station Denies Pollution

RINGWOOD, N.J. -- A lawyer for a New Jersey Citgo station owner says the station is not responsible for contaminating nearby wells and will sue the borough for blaming the leaks on the business, reported

Attorney John McCombley notified the borough of his intention to sue on behalf of Joseph Costello for $10 million. McCombley said that the business is not responsible for damage to wells in the area that have been contaminated by fuel. "The Borough Council and its professionals not only were the prosecutor, judge and jury but convicted my client and executed them without one shred of evidence," McCombley said. "There's absolutely no evidence that that station polluted anybody's wells. Indeed, the evidence is quite to the contrary, and is conclusive."

Borough officials say Citgo is responsible for the high levels of methyl tertiary butyl ether and tertiary butyl alcohol found in five residential wells. Monitoring wells installed on the station property also showed high levels of the same toxins in August. Lesser, yet measurable, amounts were found in other residential wells.

The state Department of Environmental Protection is not as direct in pointing a finger, but has proceeded as if Citgo is the cause. "We've listed Citgo as a potential responsible party," said Fred Mumford, a DEP spokesman. "We've directed them to do work involving this site, including installing and testing monitoring and portable wells, and they've complied."

Attorney Greg Coffey, who is representing the borough, said Citgo is definitely responsible. "We've confirmed with DEP and our consulting firm that the Citgo station is the source of contamination," Coffey said.
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