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STRABAN TWP., Pa. - In papers filed in federal district court in Harrisburg, the United States and four parties have reached a settlement over cleanup of hazardous substances at the Hunterstown Road Superfund Site in Straban Township, Pa.
The proposed consent decree, filed by the Justice Department on behalf of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, resolves the government’s claims against four companies allegedly responsible for much of the soil and groundwater contamination at the 22-acre Superfund site, located 1.5 miles northeast of Gettysburg. The settling companies -- CBS Corporation (formerly Westinghouse Electric Corporation), Susquehanna Pfaltzgraff Company, Tim-Bar Corporation (formerly Spectra-Kote Corporation), Inland Paperboard and Packaging, Inc. (formerly Inland Container Corporation) -- have agreed to complete an EPA-approved cleanup plan, costing an estimated $9 million, and reimburse the government $375,989 for EPA’s past cleanup efforts.
"This settlement avoids the cost and delay of litigation, and allows EPA and the settling companies to concentrate on the cleanup," said EPA Regional Administrator W. Michael McCabe.
Under the Superfund law, the landowners, waste generators and transporters responsible for creating a hazardous waste site are responsible for cleaning up the site, or reimbursing the government or other parties for cleanup activities.
According to EPA, Frederick Shealer the owner of this rural property, operated a septic tank business, and from 1959 until 1983 collected wastes, including hazardous substances, from the settling companies or their corporate predecessors. The landowner allegedly sprayed the waste, or dumped barrels of waste, at various locations throughout the property. EPA’s testing of soil and groundwater at this 22-acre site has revealed contamination by solvents and metals, including trichloroethylene ("TCE"), trichloroethane ("TCA"), vinyl chloride, antimony, chromium, copper, lead, mercury, and zinc.
The site was placed on the Superfund list in 1986. In 1993, EPA approved a cleanup plan that included excavating and off-site treating or disposing of contaminated soils and stream sediments. The plan also included covering contaminated areas with clean soil, pumping and treating groundwater and restoring damaged wetlands.
The settlement announced today was the successful result of the Superfund cost allocation program. In this pilot program, the government agrees to use the Superfund to pay the the cost associated with polluters that are defunct, insolvent, cannot be located, or otherwise cannot pay their share of the cleanup. The Superfund comes from a special tax on petroleum and chemical producers specifically for hazardous waste cleanups.
In this case, landowner Frederick Shealer claimed insolvency at the time of the cleanup. The U.S. agreed to use the Superfund to pay the landowner’s allocated 29% share of the cleanup costs, with the settling defendants responsible for the remainder. The government has previously negotiated a $195,663 "de minimis" settlement with another waste generator, Dal-Tile Corp., which contributed a small amount of the hazardous waste at the site.
The proposed settlement is subject to a 30-day public comment period and final court approval.