FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE ENR TUESDAY, DECEMBER 9, 1997 (202) 514-2008 TDD (202) 514-1888
NINE CORPORATIONS TO PAY MORE THAN $60 MILLION TO CLEANUP ABERDEEN, NORTH CAROLINA SUPERFUND SITE
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Nine corporations today agreed to pay more than $60 million towards the clean up of an Aberdeen, North Carolina Superfund site where toxic pesticide-laden wastes were spilled and dumped for more than 50 years.
Under the settlement, lodged today by the Justice Department on behalf of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in U.S. District Court in Greensboro, the nine corporations will pay an estimated $50 million to clean up soil and groundwater contaminated by chemical pesticides. They also will reimburse the federal government more than $8.5 million for past cleanup costs and cover any future oversight costs EPA may incur at the site.
The Aberdeen Pesticides Dump site is a collection of five different areas that were used as disposal areas for pesticide contaminated wastes at various times from the mid-1930s to the late 1980s.
The nine corporations are:
Grower Service Corp.
Kaiser Aluminum & Chemical Corp.
Mobil Oil Corp.
Novartis Crop Protection (formerly Ciba-Geigy)
Olin Corp. (formerly Olin-Mathieson)
Shell Oil Co.
"This settlement is another example of how Superfund is working to get our nation's worst toxic dumps cleaned up, protecting the health and well being of citizens nationwide," said Lois Schiffer, Assistant Attorney General in charge of the Justice Department's Environment and Natural Resources Division. "Communities in North Carolina and all across America are benefitting from the Superfund program, because it ensures that polluters clean up their own mess, and not the American taxpayer."
"Superfund is hard at work protecting the environment and the taxpayers," said Steve Herman, Assistant Administrator for Enforcement and Compliance Assurance. "And in the last four years, we have worked to do this more fairly and more efficiently than ever before."
"This important settlement underscores EPA's commitment to a reformed Superfund enforcement process that is fairer, more efficient, and cost effective for all concerned," said John H. Hankinson, Jr., EPA Regional Administrator in Atlanta.
The State of North Carolina discovered the contaminated sites in 1985. From 1985 to 1989, EPA removed some of the worst toxic pollutants from the sites, before designating all five areas as one Superfund site.
In order to reach a settlement that was acceptable to all the corporate defendants in this case, the Justice Department utilized Alternative Dispute Resolution, employing a former judge as an independent mediator. The mediator was able to assist the defendants in working out an allocation schedule that determined how much each would contribute to the cleanup costs. Based upon that mediation, the defendants were able to reach a settlement with the United States.
Because a significant amount of the contamination was caused by companies that are now out of business, the United States agreed to compromise a portion of its past clean up costs in order to obtain today's agreement.