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2001 News Releases


EPA Recovering More of its Cleanup Costs at National Oil Services Superfund Site in West Haven, Conn.

Release Date: 12/11/2001
Contact Information: Stacy Greendlinger, EPA Community Involvement Office (617) 918-1043 Mark Merchant, EPA Press Office, (617) 918-1013,

BOSTON – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency this week sent settlement offers to seven businesses who sent waste oil to National Oil Services Inc. in West Haven, Conn., a former waste oil storage, treatment, transfer, recycling and disposal facility that was in operation from 1982 to 1997.

Nearly 400 parties have already settled their cleanup liability for a total of about $800,000. To date, EPA has spent about $1.6 million cleaning up the site under the federal Superfund program. This settlement will mean EPA will recover approximately $300,000 more of its costs.

With the two settlements together EPA is recovering 70 percent of its costs for the cleanup. EPA has filed a lawsuit against the owners of the site and the largest known contributor of waste to the site for reimbursement of the remaining costs.

Most of the settling parties are from Connecticut with some from Massachusetts.

"EPA has developed a settlement both equitable and protective. Each settling party will pay 8.5 cents per gallon for each gallon of waste oil it sent to the site," explained Robert W. Varney, regional administrator of EPA's New England office. "Additionally, the agency will protect settling parties from other lawsuits seeking to recover EPA's past cleanup costs."

EPA would have sought to recoup costs from a number of other companies but they are either insolvent, defunct, or cannot be located. As a result, EPA will pick up$275,000 in cleanup costs that would have otherwise been attributed to these parties.

An estimated 1,300 additional parties contributed less than 1,000 gallons each to the site, which represents approximately 3 percent of the waste oil known to have been received at the site. EPA will not seek to recover costs from these small contributing parties.

The National Oil Services site is located at 16-20 Elm St. in West Haven on the west shore of the West River, adjoining New Haven Harbor and Long Island Sound. In 1997, after a number of years of attempting to bring the company into environmental compliance, the Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection ordered operations to cease. The property owner evicted National Oil Services and its subsidiary business, Atlantic Environmental Laboratory. Before vacating, National Oil Services filed for bankruptcy.

A 1997 investigation determined that the site posed a threat to human health and the environment and therefore warranted an EPA short-term cleanup action. Hazardous substances found at the site included: methylene chloride and other halogenated solvents in waste oils; sulfuric acid; hydrochloric acid; nitric acid; chromic acid; and sodium hydroxide and ether. To date EPA, has spent about $1.6 million at the site. Cleanup actions included the disposal off-site of:

• approximately 104,000 gallons of contaminated waste oil;
• approximately 140,000 gallons of contaminated wastewater;
• approximately 485 tons of contaminated sludge;
• approximately 45 drums of contaminated oil and process chemicals;
• at least 200 small-volume laboratory chemicals; and
• approximately 30 cubic yards of contaminated debris.

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