WASHINGTON – A comprehensive settlement was reached today between the federal government, the Pharmacia Corporation and Bayer CropScience Inc., which will ensure the second phase of cleanup actions at the Industri-Plex Superfund Site in Woburn, Mass., the Justice Department and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced. The settlement agreement is contained in a consent decree lodged today in the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts by the Justice Department on behalf of the EPA.
The settlement agreement clears the way for work to begin cleaning up contaminated soil, sediment, groundwater and surface water at the site under the oversight of EPA. The site is primarily contaminated with heavy metals such as arsenic, as well as ammonia and volatile organic compounds such as benzene.
The comprehensive cleanup costs are estimated to be approximately $25.6 million. In addition, the settlement calls for the settling parties to pay for all future federal oversight expenses and recovers $6 million in past response costs incurred by the federal government at the site.
Pharmacia Corporation is a successor to the Monsanto Company, which manufactured chemicals at the site. Bayer CropScience Inc. is a successor to Stauffer Chemical Company, which manufactured glue products at the site.
“Today’s settlement establishes long-term monitoring and controls to protect the environment and public health,” said Ronald J. Tenpas, Assistant Attorney General for the Justice Department’s Environment and Natural Resources Division. “This settlement demonstrates the Justice Department's commitment to ensuring Superfund sites like this one are cleaned and restored.”
“This marks the beginning of a new chapter at the Industri-Plex Superfund Site,” said Ira Leighton, Deputy Regional Administrator of EPA’s New England office. “The settlement agreement ensures that the site, including portions of the Aberjona River, will be cleaned up for the benefit of the community. We look forward to working with the settling parties and the community over the next several years to implement the site’s cleanup.”
Under the terms of the consent decree, the settling parties are required to implement the January 2006 “Record of Decision,” a comprehensive cleanup plan for the second phase at the site. The plan calls for the parties to address soil, sediment, groundwater and surface water contamination at the site.
The work called for in this second phase of work will include:
Dredging and off-site disposal of contaminated sediments;
using the northern portion of the Halls Brook Holding Area Pond as a treatment and sediment retention area;
establishing institutional controls to restrict contact with contaminated soils, groundwater and sediments;
constructing wetlands to compensate for wetlands impacted by the cleanup;
long-term monitoring of the groundwater, surface water and sediments to ensure that cleanup measures continue to protect human health and the environment.
Chemical and glue operations occurred at the Woburn, Mass., site for more than a century, from approximately 1853 to 1969. The Industri-Plex site was added to the national Superfund list in 1983 due to soil, sediment and water contamination from heavy metals including arsenic, ammonia and volatile organic compounds such as benzene. The site contains four animal hide piles capped as part of an earlier cleanup action and includes portions of the Aberjona River and associated wetlands.
The consent decree is subject to a 30-day public comment period and approval by the federal court. For more information, please see the consent decree at www.usdoj.gov/enrd/Consent_Decrees.html.