United States District Court for the District Of Montana Approves the settlement reached for Hazardous Waste Cleanup at Billings Superfund Sit
On October 3, 2011, the United States Department of Justice, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and the Montana Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) announced that the United States District Court for the District of Montana approved a settlement reached by the United States and the State of Montana that will ensure the cleanup of the lower half of the Lockwood Solvent Ground Water Plume Superfund Site in Billings.
The Lockwood Superfund Site spans 580 acres on the outskirts of Billings, across the Yellowstone River from the city center. Much of the ground water is contaminated with volatile organic compounds, vinyl chloride, and various chlorinated solvents released primarily from two source properties, Soco West, Inc., and Beall Trailers, Inc. These chemicals are hazardous to human health and, in this case, the chemicals leached into the groundwater serving some of Lockwood's residents. To manage the large Lockwood site, the Agencies split the site into two Operable Units (OU), referred to as OU 1 and OU 2.
The settling defendant is Soco West, Inc., the successor of Brenntag West, Inc. and Dyce Chemical, which operated a chemical repackaging and distribution plant in OU 2, the portion of the site that is the subject of the settlement. The settlement today pertains only to OU 2. The remainder of the site, OU 1, the portion contaminated by Beall Trailers, Inc., is being handled separately by EPA and MDEQ.
Under the settlement, Soco West agrees to clean up its portion of the site at an estimated cost of $6.9 million. It will also pay the future oversight costs of EPA and MDEQ, as well as $750,000 in costs that EPA incurred investigating the problem. Upon discovery of the health threat to Lockwood residents, MDEQ supplied affected residents with bottled water until the EPA removal branch could install a water source that allowed residents to discontinue their use of the contaminated groundwater.
United States Attorney Michael W. Cotter said, "This settlement is an excellent example of effective cooperation and collaboration between the EPA and the MDEQ that will ensure the cleanup of the Lockwood Site, protect the ground water that flows into the Yellowstone River, and ensure that the those living in Lockwood have clean water to drink. It demonstrates that we can find solutions to difficult problems together, and we will not tolerate the dumping of hazardous pollutants into Montana's waters."
This agreement secures funding to stop the spread of contamination from the site," said Julie DalSoglio, director of EPA's office in Montana. "We look forward to working with Soco West and the Billings community to identify and implement an effective cleanup."
MDEQ Director Richard Opper said that he was pleased to have this settlement. "It will facilitate more cleanup at the site and that's our ultimate goal."