FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE|
MONDAY APRIL 22, 2002
TDD (202) 514-1888
COURT APPROVES FORD AGREEMENT TO RESTORE KREJCI DUMP
All Debris And Contaminated Soils To Be Removed From National Park
WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Department of Justice and the National Park Service announced today that the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio has approved a settlement under which the Ford Motor Company will clean up the Krejci Dump Site in the Cuyahoga Valley National Park in northern Ohio. Ford has agreed to remove 77,000 cubic yards of soil and debris – enough to cover a football field to a depth of over 36 feet – contaminated with lead, heavy metals, and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) as a result of years of industrial dumping.
After the contamination is removed, Ford will grade and then re-vegetate the site to restore its natural grassland condition. The cleanup will take three years to complete, and the Park Service estimates it would have cost the government $30 million to perform.
This settlement concludes a lawsuit originally filed by the Justice Department on behalf of the Park Service in 1997 against Ford and a number of other defendants under the Superfund law and the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA). Ford and the other defendants arranged for the disposal of wastes at the site from nearby industrial facilities during the1950s and 1960s.
After Ford reached an agreement in principle to conduct the final cleanup, the Justice Department was able to obtain settlements from the other defendants to reimburse the Park Service for almost $20 million previously spent to remove thousands of drums and other contaminated wastes from the surface of the Krejci site. These settlements with the other defendants were also approved by the court today.
"By stepping forward and accepting responsibility for the final cleanup, Ford helped break a logjam preventing settlement of the litigation. As a result, the Krejci Dump restoration will be completed at minimal cost to the public," said Tom Sansonetti, Assistant Attorney General for the Justice Department's Environment and Natural Resources Division. "Today's Earth Day celebration provides a perfect time to show how Superfund enforcement can help protect public health and the environment and provide us with restored natural resources to enjoy."
The Cuyahoga Valley National Park was created by Congress in 1974. It preserves 33,000 acres of pastoral valley along 22 miles of the Cuyahoga River between Cleveland and Akron. Over
3.5 million visitors use the park annually, which has more recreational users every year than Yellowstone. The 47-acre Krejci Dump Site is located near the center of the park. In 1986 the Park Service discovered the former salvage yard contained large quantities of hazardous wastes, much of which was covered over by junk and vegetation.
"The work that Ford will be doing will enable the Park Service to integrate the former Krejci Dump into the Park,"said John P. Debo, Jr., Superintendent of the Cuyahoga Valley National Park. "It will protect users of the Park as well as flora and fauna at the site. We acknowledge Ford's act of responsible corporate citizenship and look forward to working closely with Ford to restore the ecological integrity of this seriously degraded area."
United States District Court Judge David D. Dowd, Jr. presided over the litigation and approved the settlement.