WASHINGTON— Thirty-six companies allegedly responsible for hazardous contamination of soil and groundwater at the Breslube-Penn Superfund Site in Coraopolis, Pa., have agreed to cleanup up the site, the Justice Department and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced today.
According to the settlement filed in U.S. District Court in the Western District of Pennsylvania, the companies have agreed to fund and/or complete a $12 million cleanup at the seven-acre site.
The settling companies have also agreed to reimburse EPA $3 million in past costs at the site, and to pay for EPA’s future costs, which include oversight of the cleanup. The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, which has also signed the consent decree, will be reimbursed $41,000 for its past enforcement costs and will also recover future response costs. The United States has collected more than $4.2 million in prior settlements with other parties, bringing the total value of the judicial settlements involving this site to more than $19 million.
"As a result of this settlement, the Breslube-Penn Superfund Site will be cleaned up and taxpayers will be reimbursed for money already spent to respond to contamination at the site," said John C. Cruden, Acting Assistant Attorney General for the Justice Department’s Environment and Natural Resources Division.
"EPA is pleased with a settlement that allows the parties to concentrate their efforts on the cleanup rather than the courthouse," said William C. Early, Acting Administrator of EPA’s Mid-Atlantic region.
Under the Superfund law, parties responsible for contamination of a Superfund site must clean up the site, or reimburse EPA or other parties for cleanup costs. In June 1996, EPA added the Breslube-Penn Site to the EPA’s Superfund National Priorities List of sites where hazardous contaminants could impact public health and/or the environment. According to EPA and the commonwealth, industrial activities at the site contaminated soil and groundwater with volatile organic compounds, semi-volatile organic compounds, PCBs, metals and cyanide.
The United States sued several "potentially responsible parties" in 1997 including facility owners and operators, waste generators and waste transporters that were involved with industrial activities at the site. According to the United States’ complaint, American Tallow operated a meat rendering plant at the site until 1977, when Wiseman Oil Company began fuel oil recycling activities at the property. After Wiseman Oil became bankrupt in 1982, the property was purchased by Breslube-Penn Inc., which continued used oil reprocessing until 1986, and constructed a lubricating oil refining plant. The facility was used as a used oil transfer station from 1987 until the facility’s closure in 1992.
The settling companies include nine (AK Steel, Alcoa Inc., CBS Corporation, Elliot Company, Exxon Mobil Corp., Ford Motor Company, General Motors Corporation, Hussey Copper Ltd., and U.S. Steel) that have agreed to conduct the EPA-approved cleanup. Under the settlement, these nine companies will remove oil and other pollutants and then install a cap and slurry wall containment system to prevent the release of any additional contaminants. These companies will also remediate the groundwater outside the containment area. The remaining defendants have agreed to help fund the cleanup.
The consent decree is subject to a 30-day public notice and comment period, and final court approval. A copy of the consent decree is available on the Justice Department Web site at http://www.usdoj.gov/enrd/Consent_Decrees.html.
Additional information about the Breslube-Penn Superfund Site is available at http://www.epa.gov/reg3hwmd/super/sites/PAD089667695/index.htm .