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Proposed Settlement Would Recover $2.7+ Million in Cleanup Costs from Berkshire Gas

Release Date: 11/20/2008
Contact Information: David Deegan, (617) 918-1017

(Boston, Mass. – Nov. 20, 2008) – EPA and the U.S. Department of Justice have lodged a Consent Decree in federal court proposing the recovery of $2,734,199 in costs, plus interest, from Berkshire Gas for cleaning up Berkshire Gas's contamination as part of the “1 Mile Reach Removal Action” at the GE-Pittsfield/Housatonic River Site in Western Massachusetts.

The proposed settlement is subject to a 30-day public comment period, from Nov. 19 - Dec. 19, 2008. Also, EPA will hold a public meeting on this proposed settlement at the Berkshire Athenaeum on Wednesday Dec. 10 at 7:30 p.m.

As part of the October 2000 Consent Decree addressing the PCB contamination in Pittsfield and the Housatonic River, GE is responsible for performing and paying for all cleanup work, except in the river segment known as the 1 Mile Reach. EPA performed this part of the cleanup and shared the costs with GE, as required by the GE Consent Decree.

In performing the 1 Mile Reach cleanup, EPA encountered several pockets of contamination that were related to Berkshire Gas's former operations. Addressing this contamination cost about $3.8 million, which was funded by EPA and GE under the cost-sharing agreement. In the current proposed settlement with Berkshire Gas, EPA would receive $2,734,199, plus interest, and GE would recover $1,156,800, plus interest.

If the settlement is approved by the Court, EPA will put the settlement proceeds in the site-specific fund for future project use. The outcome of this case will not affect any other site cleanup or future work related to the 1 Mile Reach.

More Information:

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The proposed Consent Decree & information on how to comment (http://epa.gov/ne/ge/whatsnew.html)

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EPA's GE/Housatonic River Clean Up Web site (http://www.epa.gov/region1/ge/index.html)