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CHESTER COUNTY, Pa. - In papers filed in federal court in Philadelphia, the United States has proposed a settlement of its lawsuit against some of the parties allegedly responsible for the hazardous substances contaminating the environment at the Strasburg Landfill in Chester County, Pa.
In the September 29, 1998 consent decree, 11 companies and four municipal government parties agreed to reimburse $2.5 million of EPA’s cleanup costs for the 22-acre former landfill.
The Strasburg site -- located in Newlin and West Bradford Townships, near Strasburg Road and a half mile from Brandywine Creek -- operated as a landfill from 1979 to 1983. The landfill accepted large quantities of sewage treatment sludges; industrial waste and sludges; and manufacturing wastes. In 1983, the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection shut down the landfill after repeated environmental violations. The landfill was placed on the Superfund list in March 1989 because of serious hazardous waste contamination.
Under the Superfund statute, the parties responsible for creating contaminated sites are also responsible for site cleanups. If approved by the court after a 30-day public comment period, this settlement will resolve the government’s Superfund claims against the following defendants: Occidental Chemical Corporation; Clean Harbors of Cleveland Inc.; Esschem, Inc.; Congoleum Corporation; NRM Investment, Inc.; the Borough of Downingtown; West Goshen Township; the Borough of West Chester; Valley Forge Sewer Authority; Unisys Corporation; Westcode, Inc.; Whitford Corporation; Wyeth Laboratories; Worthington Steel Corporation; and USA Waste of Delaware, Inc.
The major components of the cleanup include constructing a permanent, multi-layer cap over the landfill; installing a system to collect and treat leachate (the contaminated liquid created when rainwater trickles through landfill waste materials); installing a ventilation system to prevent the buildup of gases underneath the cap; and monitoring gases venting from the landfill.
This settlement is the first recovery of cleanup costs at the Strasburg site, and is based on the government’s evaluation of the settling parties’ contribution to the contamination at the site. The U.S. will continue to pursue reimbursement claims against other responsible parties, including the landfill’s current and former owners and operators.