Settlement Clears Way for Cleanup Work at Hows Corner Superfund Site in Plymouth, Maine
Release Date: 11/16/2009
Contact Information: David Deegan, (617) 918-1010
(Boston, Mass. – Nov. 16, 2009) - A new settlement that includes an estimated $11.2 million in cleanup work will ensure continued cleanup of the West Site/Hows Corner Superfund Site in Plymouth, Maine. The agreement is between the U.S. EPA, the U.S. Department of Justice, the Maine Department of Environmental Protection (MEDEP), the Maine Attorney General, and potentially responsible parties at the Site.
The settlement will ensure that work proceeds at the Site as detailed in the 2002 and 2006 “Records of Decision.” This work includes: construction and operation of a groundwater hydraulic containment system, a technical impracticability waiver for the Source Area Groundwater, monitored natural attenuation of the Non-Source Area Groundwater, institutional controls, and further investigation and mitigation, if necessary, of the potential vapor intrusion pathway.
Under the proposed Consent Decree, the Settling Parties will pay all of the United States’ future response costs and reimburse the Federal Natural Resources Trustees for assessing natural resource damages, in addition to performing the remedy at the Site. The State of Maine will receive payment of its past costs, a specified amount of future oversight costs, all future response costs, and costs of assessing damage to natural resources.
In a separate settlement, the State has accepted an offer to settle natural resources damages to the Site groundwater until it is restored to drinking water standards. The agreement will permanently protect a 700-acre wildlife and recreational area in Plymouth, and a separate 50 acre well-head protection area adjacent to the replacement water supply for the Site.
The West Site/Hows Corner Superfund Site is a 17-acre parcel of land that was owned by George West Jr., located on Sawyer Road, Penobscot County, Plymouth, Maine. A two-acre portion of this property was operated as a waste oil facility from 1965 to 1980. Waste oils were stored in eight above ground storage tanks ranging in volume from 1,000 to 20,000 gallons. Approximately 235,000 gallons of waste oil and other liquids were received at the facility for storage and transfer during operations. After separating the waste oils based on density, lighter oils were sold to greenhouses, paper companies, and others as fuels, and heavier oils were spread on dirt roads for dust control. Operations ceased in 1980, and the tanks were disassembled and sold for scrap. In the late 1980’s, after contamination was discovered in a residential well, the MEDEP provided carbon filters to residents with contaminated water supplies and began an investigation to locate the source.
In 1995, EPA placed the Site on the National Priorities List after the discovery of contaminated soil within the Source Area and contaminated groundwater underlying the Source Area and surrounding properties. Since that time, EPA and MEDEP have conducted and overseen response actions at the Site, including excavation and disposal of heavily contaminated soil in the Source Area, construction of a public water supply system to provide affected residents with a clean water supply, site and residential monitoring, as well as the remedial investigation/feasibility study and remedial design of the water containment system. Also, EPA and MEDEP have entered into several prior agreements with potentially responsible parties (PRPs) at the site under which PRPs have conducted a remedial investigation, feasibility study and completed a portion of the remedial design.
- West Site/Hows Corner Superfund Site (www.epa.gov/region1/superfund/sites/hows)
- The consent decree, lodged in the U.S. District Court for the District of Maine, is subject to a 30-day public comment period and approval by the federal court. The consent decree will be available on DOJ’s Web site (www.justice.gov/enrd/Consent_Decrees.html).
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