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Thursday, December 23, 2010

Moses Lake Settlement Funds Cleanup and Ends Litigation

WASHINGTON— Parties responsible for contamination at the Moses Lake Wellfield Superfund Site have reached a settlement that provides the funding necessary to clean up the site. Cleanup of TCE (trichloroethylene), an industrial solvent, and other contaminants was initiated by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and will be completed by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Under the consent decree lodged today in federal district court in Yakima, Wash., the federal government has pledged to provide an estimated $55 million in cleanup funds. Other cleanup funding, in the amount of $3.25 million, will be provided by The Boeing Company, Lockheed Martin and the city of Moses Lake.

"This settlement will ensure the cleanup of TCE from groundwater at the Moses Lake Superfund Site." said Ignacia S. Moreno, Assistant Attorney General for the Justice Department’s Environment and Natural Resources Division. "The Justice Department expects those responsible for pollution to pay for cleanup. This settlement shows the federal government’s willingness to live up to that standard when it is responsible for pollution."

The settlement will fund the cleanup actions selected by EPA in September 2008. "EPA’s cleanup will ensure that residents in and around the city of Moses Lake are protected from contaminants in the groundwater," said Dan Opalski, Director of EPA’s Office of Environmental Cleanup for Washington, Oregon, Idaho and Alaska.

"Our state’s strong partnership with the Department of Justice means that a large area of contamination will, at long last, be cleaned up," said Washington Attorney General Robert M. McKenna. "Our office is proud to provide the legal work that plays a critical role in improving the quality of natural resources in the state of Washington."

"We are pleased to be part of this agreement, and we look forward to working with EPA to clean up groundwater on this site," said Jim Pendowski, the Washington Department of Ecology’s Toxics Cleanup Program manager.

The settlement resolves a lawsuit brought by the city of Moses Lake as well as potential lawsuits by the federal government and the state of Washington.

The consent decree, lodged in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Washington, is subject to a 30-day public comment period and approval by the federal court. A copy of the consent decree is available on the Justice Department Web site at http://www.justice.gov/enrd/Consent_Decrees.html.

Press Release Number: 
Updated September 15, 2014