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Case Summary: $92 Million Settlement Reached for Cleanup at Pohatcong Superfund Site in New Jersey

On January 13, 2015, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Department of Justice (DOJ) announced a settlement with several companies to address the Pohatcong Valley Groundwater Contamination Superfund site in Warren County, N.J. The settlement, valued at $92 million in cleanup work and payment of past cleanup costs and future oversight costs, addresses contaminated soil and groundwater at the site.

The Pohatcong site is contaminated with trichloroethylene (TCE) and perchloroethylene (PCE), which can cause serious health effects. Under a supplemental environmental project (SEP), valued at $1.1 million, approximately 60 acres will be restored and converted to native grassland and will become part of the Morris Canal Greenway.

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Information about the Companies involved in the Settlement

The following companies are involved in the settlement:

Pechiney Plastic Packaging, Inc. (Pechiney) - manufactures and markets plastic packaging products for food, meat, dairy, healthcare, and specialty markets. The company was founded in 1999 and is based in Chicago, Ill.

  • Albea Americas, Inc. - is a steel-mill located in Washington, NJ which began operation in 2010.
  • Bristol-Myers Squibb Company - is a global biopharmaceutical company founded in 1858 and headquartered in New York City, N.Y.
  • Citigroup Inc. – founded in 1812 as the City Bank of New York, is a global financial services company doing business in more than 160 countries.
  • Rexam Beverage Can Company – is a global beverage can maker headquartered in the United Kingdom.

Information about the Pohatcong Valley Ground Water Contamination Superfund Site

The Pohatcong Vally Ground Water Contamination Superfund Site (“Pohatcong”) is a large and complex site divided into three contaminated areas. The site is located in Warren County, N.J.

EPA added the Pohatcong site to Superfund’s National Priorities List (NPL) in 1989 because of elevated levels of volatile organic contaminants including tetrachloroethylene (TCE) and perchloroethylene (PCE) in public water supply wells. These wells are now being treated to meet public drinking water standards before the water is distributed. The site includes a contaminated ground water plume that is approximately 10 miles long and a mile and a half wide.

More information about the Pohatcong Superfund Site.

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Summary on the Consent Decree and Supplemental Environmental Project

Under the consent decree, Pechiney will be responsible for cleaning up the site and connecting some residents to public water as well as operating a treatment system to capture air vapors seeping into a manufacturing facility. Pechiney will also continue to monitor for vapor seepage into homes at the site.

Pechiney has agreed to pay EPA $29.5 million of its past costs and to pay all of EPA’s future oversight costs. Pechiney will also perform cleanup work estimated at $62.5 million. Also part of the agreement is a $1.1 million supplemental environmental project to restore and preserve 60 acres as native grassland that will become part of the Morris Canal Greenway. The land will be managed by Warren County and the New Jersey Youth Corps of Phillipsburg, NJ, which is a “second chance” service and conservation corps program for young adults. The second chance program provides opportunities to young adults and allows them to earn a high school equivalency diploma while providing a valuable service to the community.

The District court for the District of New Jersey approved the Consent Decree on March 11, 2015.

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Contact Information

For information contact

Meredith Fishburn
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
1200 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, D.C. 20460

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