South Jersey Gas will get two years to complete a remedial investigation for contaminants related to a former gas plant in Atlantic City.

The Department Environmental Protection sent a notice to the company earlier this month claiming it had not completed a full investigation, as required, for Beach Thoroughfare and Barge Pier related to the former plant on Florida Avenue.

Pipelines used to offload stock petroleum product from ships into a 1.5-million-gallon, above-ground storage tank and send stock petroleum products to the Kirkman Boulevard and Michigan Avenue plants were not evaluated, the letter said.

"These pipelines, and areas to which contaminants have migrated from the pipelines, remain as areas of concern on the site," the letter states.

The company was given until May 7 to complete the investigation but has been granted the extension, under legislation enacted in January. That legislation allows the DEP to place a case in direct oversight if certain conditions are not met, DEP spokesman Bob Considine explained.

"A plan to remediate the residuals potentially associated with the former manufactured gas plant has been prepared, and we are working with the licensed site remediation professional of record, the local community and the NJ DEP to obtain the required approvals to remediate the site," company spokesman Dan Lockwood said.

He said they are evaluating the DEP's position and will continue dialogue with them.

Jeff Tittel, director of the New Jersey Sierra Club, charged that this shows the company has "complete disregard for environmental protections."

"We are glad DEP enforcement has taken action, since this site has been left contaminated far too long polluting the environment and waterways that belong to all of us," he said.

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