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1997 News Releases


Golden Books Agrees To Pay Fine For Delay In Complying With EPA Order To Join Cleanup Of Federal Superfund Site in Plattekill, NY

Release Date: 11/21/1997
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(#97159) New York, N.Y. -- The Department of Justice, on behalf of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), has entered into a Consent Decree with Golden Books Publishing Company, Inc, formerly Western Publishing Company, Inc. Under the settlement, the new management which took over at Western Publishing in 1996 will pay a civil penalty of $625,000 for an alleged violation by its former management of a 1992 EPA Order that required the company to participate in the cleanup of the Hertel Landfill Superfund site. The landfill is located in the Hamlet of Clintondale, Town of Plattekill, in Ulster County, New York. The Consent Decree that embodies the terms of the settlement agreement was entered today in Federal District Court in Albany, New York.

Golden Books, under EPA oversight, also has agreed to take over the lead for the site cleanup from the Ford Motor Company, a party that has been performing the site work under an EPA cleanup Order issued on September 21, 1992. On February 11, 1997, EPA issued a second Order directing eight other parties EPA determined were legally responsible for the contamination, to participate in the cleanup of the site. EPA expects the eight parties, which include Alfa Laval, Inc., International Business Machines Corporation, and Tesa Tape, Inc. to comply with the new order and work cooperatively with Golden Books and Ford.

"EPA's policy is to ensure that viable responsible parties cleanup hazardous waste sites," said Regional Administrator Jeanne M. Fox. "This helps us extend limited Superfund resources and makes those who created the pollution in the first place take responsibility for their actions."

Lois Schiffer, Assistant Attorney General for the Justice Department's Environmental and Natural Resources Division, said, "The penalty settlement with Golden Books demonstrates the Federal Government's resolve in seeing that its orders to clean up Superfund sites are complied with and that violations of such orders will be punished."

In 1991, EPA selected a final remedy for this federal Superfund site that included the construction of a multi-layer cap over the landfill to reduce the potential of contaminants leaching from the landfill and damaging nearby wetlands and groundwater. As called for in the remedy, a chain link fence around the perimeter of the 13-acre landfill was completed by Ford in January 1995. The construction of the landfill cap began in June 1997. EPA expects the cap, which is estimated to cost $4.1 million, to be completed by November 1998. In addition, EPA recommended that controls be adopted, such as deed restrictions, to limit future use of the land.

As part of the 1991 remedy, the Agency also included measures for the treatment of contaminated groundwater. EPA has determined that an additional investigation of the groundwater should be conducted at the site before completing the design of the groundwater cleanup plan. The Agency will utilize the additional groundwater data to evaluate the necessity of installing a groundwater extraction and treatment system in order to protect the groundwater against further contamination. If any modifications to the groundwater remedy are necessary, EPA will inform the public about the revisions, and solicit public comment on the proposed revisions, as appropriate.

Site Background

The Hertel Landfill was established in 1963 as a mixed waste landfill owned and operated by Carlo Hertel and his family until 1975. In 1969, the former Dutchess Sanitation Service began hauling refuse from Dutchess County to the Hertel Landfill, and in 1975 it purchased the landfill. In April 1976, the Ulster County Department of Health (UCDOH) revoked the landfill permit for a variety of violations, including allegations of illegal industrial dumping. In March 1977, the site was permanently closed due to the UCDOH action and a Town of Plattekill ordinance prohibiting the dumping of out-of-town garbage.

For more information contact:
Rich Cahill, Press Office
EPA Region 2
290 Broadway
NY, NY 10007-1866
Voice: 212-637-3666 FAX: 212-637-5046 E-Mail: