WASHINGTON ó The Justice Department and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced a settlement that will ensure the expedited cleanup of the Foote Mineral Superfund Site, in Chester County, Pa. The settling defendant, which has expended approximately $7 million on cleanup actions already, will pay approximately $15 million to complete cleanup work of the site. In addition, the settling defendant has agreed to reimburse the EPA for a portion of the cleanup costs incurred for response actions at the site.
Per the terms of the agreement, the settling defendant will submit a work plan for the design of the remedial action. The remedial plan will include excavating and removing contaminated soils and other waste materials; long-term monitoring of groundwater to determine if the source control measures are effective in reducing contaminant concentrations; and implementing institutional controls to prevent residential use of impacted groundwater and preserve the integrity of the remedy. The plan requires the approval of the EPA and allows the Commonwealth an opportunity for review and comment before the planís implementation.
The site, located at 15 South Bacton Hill Road, in East Whiteland Township, Chester County, is a 79-acre property formerly owned by the Foote Mineral Company. The property was the location of Foote Mineralís Frazer Facility, which produced lithium chemicals and processed a variety of ores. As a result of the activities previously conducted on the site, the groundwater beneath the site is contaminated with boron, lithium, chromium, bromate, and organic chemicals, including benzene and tetrachloroethylene. The soils are contaminated with petroleum hydrocarbons and hazardous wastes from the processing of ores as well as with low-level radiation believed to be the residual from mineral ores. The Foote Mineral Facility was closed in 1991 and the buildings were demolished. The settling defendant acquired the property in 1998, for the purpose of residential development, with knowledge of the contamination and with the agreement to assume the liabilities associated with cleanup of the site.
The site was added to the EPAís National Priorities List in October 1992. Under the proposed settlement, the settling defendant will conduct the remedial action selected in the EPAís March 2006 Record of Decision.
The settlement was lodged in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania and is subject to a 30-day public comment period. A copy of the consent decree will be available on the Department of Justice Web site at http://www.usdoj.gov/enrd/Consent_Decrees.html.