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EPA REACHES SWIFT SETTLEMENT WITH BAY STATE GAS COMPANY

Release Date: 10/15/1997
Contact Information: Catherine Smith, EPA Legal Counsel, 617/565-4873 Tina Hennessy, EPA Project Manager 617/573-5701 Sarah White, EPA Community Relations Coordinator, 617/918-1026

BOSTON -- The Environmental Protection Agency and Bay State Gas of Westborough, Mass. recently concurred on three consent agreements that require the company to repay the federal government roughly $550,000 for the EPA's oversight of hazardous waste cleanups at three properties in Brockton and Taunton.

By presenting all three claims at the same time, the EPA minimized transaction costs and avoided litigation. In each case, the EPA settled for a portion of total costs from Bay State Gas Company.

"These settlements make sense not only from a legal but from an economic standpoint," said John P. DeVillars, administrator of the EPA's New England office. "EPA must continue to look for alternatives to prolonged litigation and pursue practical, cost effective solutions that provide big picture benefits for the environment. Credit goes to Bay State, whose cooperation and willingness to compromise was instrumental in bringing a swift resolution to these settlements."

Negotiations began in late August, and the settlement agreements were signed in September. The amount recovered can be used toward the remediation of other hazardous waste sites.

The removal sites named in the settlement include: Brockton Gas Works I and II and Taunton Gas/Rogers Ave. Soil at all three sites were primarily contaminated with coal gasification wastes generated by Bay State Gas Company's corporate predecessors.

Brockton Gas Works I: In 1988 following some investigative work by the Mass. Department of Environmental Quality and Engineering, the EPA began sampling and found contamination in the soil. Over the next three years, the EPA ordered Bay State Gas Company to clean the site. Under EPA oversight, Bay State completed the cleanup in 1994. The cost incurred by EPA for oversight during the cleanup was $311,770. In the settlement, Bay State Gas agreed to reimburse the EPA $230,710.

Brockton Gas Works II: EPA sampling at the Brockton Gas Works II began in 1989 after the company and the state performed some preliminary work. Upon finding contaminated soil, the agency issued two orders requiring Bay State to perform a site assessment to determine extent of contamination, excavate soil, and remove and install a temporary cap. The company completed the cap in 1990. The total estimated oversight cost incurred by the EPA during the cleanup was $199,507. The EPA settled with Bay State Gas for $169,582.

Taunton Gas/ Roger Ave: In 1993, EPA investigators conducted a preliminary assessment of the property. The following year the EPA ordered Bay State Gas to assess the extent of contamination at the property, and to submit a work plan and perform cleanup work based on the results of the site assessment. The EPA's oversight was finished earlier this year, and the Massachusetts DEP is now monitoring the cleanup. The estimated cost for EPA oversight during the cleanup was $177,671. Bay State Gas settled with the EPA for $154,708