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February 10, 2017

$40 million settlement reached over Rhode Island Superfund site

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The U.S. Department of Justice, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Protection (RIDEM) have announced a settlement estimated at $40 million.

The settlement is designed to ensure cleanup of Operable Unit Two of the Peterson/Puritan Inc. Superfund Site in Cumberland and Lincoln, Rhode Island, will move forward.

The agreement, lodged in federal court in Providence, Rhode Island, resolves federal and state liability claims against nearly 100 potentially responsible parties for the cleanup of the site.

Under the settlement, 22 of the settling defendants will be responsible for implementation of the remedy selected by EPA in 2015. These parties also will pay for the oversight costs incurred by EPA and RIDEM. The remaining settling parties are required to make payments to a trust to be used to help pay for performance of the site cleanup.

The area being cleaned is located adjacent to the Blackstone River and contains many parcels within the Blackstone River floodplain. These parcels include the J.M. Mills Landfill, the former Nunes Transfer Station and an unnamed island, all of which contain waste material. These parcels were owned and operated as a single landfill operation by Joseph and Linda Marszalkowski through their business J.M. Mills Inc.

The selected remedy includes excavation and consolidation of contaminated soils and sediments, construction of a multilayered impermeable cap, institutional controls and long term monitoring. The total cost for the selected remedy is estimated to be $40.3 million.

Disposal activities took place from approximately 1954 to the late 1980s during which assorted hazardous wastes and hazardous substances were disposed of at Operable Unit Two.

During this time, more than 2.1 million cubic yards of waste were disposed of at the site, resulting in contamination of the soil, groundwater, surface water and sediments. The site was listed on EPA’s National Priorities List in 1983.

The consent decree, lodged in the U.S. District Court for the District of Rhode Island Dec. 23, 2016, was subject to a 30-day public comment period and must be approved by the federal court.

“This consent decree is another critical step forward in our efforts to clean up this site and hold responsible parties accountable,” says RIDEM Director Janet Coit.

The settling defendants are: ACS Industries Inc.; Alcoa Inc.; Avnet Inc.; Clean Harbors Inc.; Costa Inc.; Cumberland Engineering Corp.; CVS Pharmacy Inc.; General Cable Industries Inc.; Hindley Manufacturing Co. Inc.; Hollingsworth & Vose Co.; International Paper Co.; KIK Custom Products Inc.; Philips Electronics North America Corp.; Sears Roebuck & Co.; Shawmut Corp.; Supervalu Holdings Inc.; Teknor Apex Co.; Texas Instruments Inc.; The Narragansett Electric Co.; The Stop & Shop Supermarket Co. LLC; Waste Management of Massachusetts Inc.; Waste Management Disposal Services of Massachusetts Inc.; Waste Management of Rhode Island Inc.; and Wyman-Gordon Co.