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Case Summary: Settlement Addresses Soil, Sediment and Groundwater Contamination at the Peterson/Puritan, Inc. Superfund Site in Rhode Island

On May 3, 2017, the U.S. District Court for the District of Rhode Island entered a settlement estimated to be worth more than $40 million between the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Protection (RIDEM) and nearly 100 settling defendants at the Peterson/Puritan, Inc. Superfund Site, in Cumberland and Lincoln, Rhode Island.

The settlement addresses contaminated soils, sediments, and groundwater at Operable Unit 2 (OU2) of the site, which includes many land parcels within the Blackstone River floodplain where hazardous wastes were disposed of from 1954 to the late 1980s. The cleanup will address health risks from people ingesting or touching contaminants in soil, sediment, and groundwater. The cleanup will also help to safeguard the Blackstone River Valley, home to Rhode Island’s newest National Park, along with popular state and local recreational areas.

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Information about the Settling Defendants

Under the settlement, 22 of the settling defendants will be responsible for performing the cleanup. These performing defendants include: 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. and Waste Management of Rhode Island, Inc.; and Wyman-Gordon Co. The remaining settling parties are required to make payments to a trust to be used to help pay for performance of the site cleanup.

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Information about the Peterson/Puritan, Inc. Superfund Site

The 500-acre Peterson/Puritan, Inc. Site encompasses over two miles of industrial, commercial, and residential property along the Blackstone River in the towns of Cumberland and Lincoln Rhode Island. The site also includes a portion of the Blackstone River Valley National Historical Park and state and local recreational areas.

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

An annotated photograph of the Peterson/Puritan Inc. Superfund site is available at

More information on this site is available from the Peterson/Puritan Superfund site profile page.

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Overview of the Consent Decree

The settlement requires the performing settling defendants to implement the remedy selected by EPA in the 2015 Record of Decision for OU2, to reimburse EPA for certain interim response costs and to reimburse EPA and the State of Rhode Island for future oversight costs in connection with the settlement. The remaining settling parties are required to make payments to a trust to be used to help pay for performance of the site cleanup.

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Contact Information

For more information, contact

Gregory Wall
Attorney Advisor
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
1200 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, D.C. 20460
(202) 564-4498

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