Land Enforcement Case Highlights
EPA’s enforcement program protects human health and the environment by preventing the improper management and release of regulated substances and hazardous waste, and requiring those responsible for a hazardous waste site to either clean up or reimburse EPA for its cleanup. In fiscal year (FY) 2009, enforcement and cleanup agreements resulted in the clean up of an estimated 28.7 million cubic yards of contaminated soil and approximately 431 million cubic yards of contaminated ground water. Under EPA's cleanup and permit programs, the Agency monitors compliance with the statutory requirements and enforcement where there is a failure to comply.
View civil land enforcement case information by location. Zoom in a few times to pinpoint the exact location of a facility. Click on the location indicator to obtain additional information on the environmental enforcement case at that facility. See "Questions About the Maps" for additional information. You may also see summaries of selected land enforcement cases below the map.
The Superfund statute (the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act, "CERCLA") provides EPA with multiple authorities to achieve cleanup and receive payment for cleanup at Superfund hazardous waste sites. EPA ensures that viable parties responsible for contamination conduct or pay for cleanup of these sites. [More Information]
The following are major cases concluded in fiscal year 2009:
EPA will achieve a record-breaking recovery in the settlement agreements it negotiated in the ASARCO bankruptcy. Approximately $763 million, plus interest, will be made available for EPA site cleanups at various sites throughout the country, including the Coeur d’Alene Superfund Site in Idaho and the Omaha Lead Site in Nebraska, making this the largest bankruptcy settlement in the history of the Superfund program. ASARCO was organized in 1899 as American Smelting and Refining Company, a fully integrated miner, smelter and refiner of copper in the United States.
On June 5, 2009, the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of Texas, Corpus Christi Division, approved five environmental settlement agreements in the ASARCO Bankruptcy. These settlements, combined with those reached last year with ASARCO, provide EPA, other federal agencies and states with over $1.57 billion to address the cleanup at over 80 sites stemming from ASARCO’s mining operations in the United States. The Federal Government’s ultimate recovery awaits the Court’s approval of the plan of reorganization, expected later this year. Four of the settlements, described below, resolve EPA environmental claims in the bankruptcy. The fifth settlement resolves state claims.
The Residual Sites Settlement Agreement will provide EPA with just over $601 million for the Coeur d’Alene and Omaha Lead sites, which EPA will place into special accounts or into a custodial trust account to furnish funds for cleanup at these sites. [More Information on the Coeur d'Alene and Omaha lead Superfund sites.]
The Custodial Trust Settlement Agreement establishes a custodial trust for ASARCO-owned sites in 11 states: Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Illinois, Indiana, New Mexico, Ohio, Oklahoma, Utah, and Washington, and resolves claims pertaining to past and potential future work performed at approximately 18 ASARCO-owned sites. The funding will be divided into two categories: approximately $60.5 million to fund the estimated amount of future environmental cleanup at the sites; and approximately $10.4 million to fund the administrative costs associated with the custodial trust settlement.
The Miscellaneous Federal and State Sites Settlement Agreement resolves claims filed against ASARCO by EPA, the United State Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Forest Service, the United States International Boundary Water Commission, and the states of Arizona, Colorado, New Jersey, Oklahoma, and Washington. EPA’s claim pertains to past costs incurred and future response costs at several federal environmental sites, as well as stipulated penalties for the Coy Mine Site in Jefferson County, Tennessee, totaling $55.4, million. A total of 26 federal and state sites are addressed in this settlement agreement.
The Montana Sites Settlement Agreement establishes a custodial trust for ASARCO-owned sites in the State of Montana. This settlement resolves claims pertaining to environmental response, natural resource restoration, and natural resource damages at five ASARCO-owned sites, funding the Montana custodial trust with over $138 million. EPA will receive over $99.2 million to fund environmental cleanup at the Asarco-owned portion of the East Helena Superfund Site in East Helena, Montana. [More Information on the East Helena Superfund Site.]
Standard Mine in Ruby Mining District
A Consent Decree was entered this year in which the United States District Court of Colorado entered a judgment against Standard Metals, the owner of Standard Mine, in the amount of $30 million for eight sites, including Standard Mine, for past and future costs, including recovery of over $900,000 in insurance claims. Settlements with two of seven insurers for Standard Metals have been completed for a combined recovery of $925,000. Of this amount EPA received $511,225 with $426,718 allocated to the Standard Mine Site and the balance of $84,507 allocated to the Upper Animus site in Colorado.
Standard Metals agreed to assist EPA in pursuing historic insurance policies with five additional insurers of which EPA will receive 90% of recovered amounts. Standard Metals also agreed to transfer any real property to which it holds title to the United States upon request. The Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management (BLM) have looked at the company’s holdings and are in the process of acquiring much of the land for public use.
The Standard Mine site is located on 10 acres in the Ruby Mining District of the Gunnison National Forest, Colorado. The contaminants of concern are primarily heavy metals including manganese, lead, zinc, cadmium, and copper. Contaminated water from the now abandoned Standard Mine flows into Elk Creek, a major tributary to Coal Creek, which serves as a source of drinking water to the residents of Crested Butte. [More Information on the Standard Mine site.]
A June 2009 settlement agreement between the United States, the State of New Jersey and natural resource damages trustees will result in the recovery of $96 million in Superfund response costs. With prior recoveries of approximately $16.5 million, the governments will receive a total of $112.5 million in response costs in connection with the site. The Federal District Court for New Jersey entered a Superfund Consent Decree between EPA, the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP), a number of federal potentially responsible parties (PRPs), federal natural resource damage (NRD) trustees – the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the Department of Interior (DOI) – as well as NJDEP as NRD trustee, and approximately 300 private parties and municipalities. With two prior partial settlements, this settlement represents global resolution of the United States’ claims for costs incurred and to be incurred in connection with the Combe Fill South Landfill Superfund Site in Chester, New Jersey. [More Information on the Combe Fill South site.]
Solvent Recovery Services of New England
The United States entered into a Consent Decree with 49 potentially responsible parties (PRPs) to perform the remedial design/remedial action (RD/RA) at the Solvents Recovery Service Superfund Site in Southington, Connecticut, resulting in the cleanup of over 5 million cubic yards of contaminated soil.
Pursuant to the Consent Decree, the settling parties will perform a long-term groundwater and soil remedy at an estimated cost of $29.9 million. In addition to performing the response, the settling parties agreed to pay a significant portion of EPA past costs, 100% of future response costs, and make payments for state and federal natural resource damages.
The Solvents Recovery Services site was the location of a hazardous waste treatment, storage and disposal facility that is highly contaminated with volatile organic compounds (VOCs), polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), dioxins and metals. [More Information on the Solvents Recovery Services site.]
Midnite Mine Superfund Site
On November 7, 2008, EPA Region 10 issued a unilateral administrative order (UAO) to Newmont USA Limited and its subsidiary, Dawn Mining Company LLC to conduct work estimated to cost $33 million. The order requires Newmont to continue treating contaminated water at the Midnite Mine Superfund Site located in eastern Washington State. Newmont USA, an international mining company, and its subsidiary operated this open-pit uranium mine on the Spokane Indian Reservation from the mid-1950s until 1981.
Since starting water treatment in 1992, the mining companies have disposed of the resulting treatment sludge, which contains uranium, at the mill where they once processed ore. The mill, located in Ford, Washington, is being closed under Washington State authority. As a result, the mining companies must prepare to dispose of the sludge at an alternative disposal site. As low-level radioactive waste, the sludge will have to be taken to a licensed facility until the treatment system can be altered to remove the uranium separately.
The UAO requires the company to continue operating a system that captures and treats water at the site to remove uranium and other metals. Failure to operate the system would result in the contamination of Blue Creek, which flows to the Spokane River, and would delay the overall cleanup of the Site. [More Information on the Midnite Mine site.]
EPA responded quickly in getting an agreement in place with the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) for the clean up of a catastrophic release of hazardous substances for TVA's Kingston Fossil Fuel Plant in Roane County, Tennessee, On December 22, 2008, the failure of an impoundment caused the release of 5.4 million cubic yards of coal combustion residue (CCR) into a branch of the Emory River and its tributaries and onto almost 300 acres of adjacent land. The agreement requires TVA to perform a comprehensive cleanup of coal ash from the Emory River and surrounding areas. The cleanup will cost an estimated $975 million and will address 26.7 million cubic yards of contaminated water. At EPA's request, TVA provided $50,000 to award to a community group for purposes of hiring an independent technical advisor to help with the interpretation of technical documents. Under the agreement, EPA is overseeing the cleanup and TVA is reimbursing EPA for its oversight costs. This is the largest settlement in the history of the Superfund program.
Coal combustion residue at the site contains arsenic, cadmium, chromium, copper, lead, mercury, nickel, selenium and zinc, which are listed hazardous substances under the Comprehensive Emergency Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA, commonly referred to as Superfund). [More Information]
EPA’s Environmentally Responsible Redevelopment and Reuse (ER3) Initiative Promotes Green Redevelopment of the American Barrel Site in Salt Lake City, Utah
The Redevelopment Agency of Salt Lake City, Utah (RDA) is participating in EPA’s Environmentally Responsible Redevelopment and Reuse (ER3) initiative by supporting efforts to build a “green” commercial redevelopment project at the Utah Power & Light/American Barrel Company Superfund Site, a formerly contaminated storage yard. To facilitate this redevelopment and address the RDA’s liability concerns, EPA, the Department of Justice, and the RDA entered into a Covenant Not to Sue/Prospective Purchaser Agreement (PPA), effective September 8, 2009.
The PPA enhances the prospects for redevelopment by offering developers certainty and comfort that EPA supports redevelopment of the contaminated property. The PPA provides Superfund liability protection to the RDA and requires the agency to:
- place an environmental covenant on the property with use and activity restrictions,
- pay the United States $30,000 for future oversight of the covenant, and
- provide EPA site access.
In addition, to supporting “green” redevelopment at the site, the RDA will require, to the maximum extent practicable, that future developers incorporate “green” features into the design, construction, and operation of the development, meeting Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Silver standards for commercial buildings. Redevelopment will provide substantial public benefit by providing jobs, increasing the tax base, and lessening the need for such development on greenfields. [More Information (PDF) (2pp, 176KB, About PDF)]
The Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) regulates the generation, treatment, storage, and disposal of hazardous waste to ensure its safe management from the time it is generated until its ultimate disposal, that is, "cradle to grave." RCRA prohibits the storage of hazardous waste unless an owner or operator of a hazardous waste storage facility obtains a permit pursuant to the implementing regulations. The RCRA Corrective Action Program effectively addresses clean up of contamination at a facility.
The following are major cases concluded in fiscal year 2009:
Kinder Morgan Liquids Terminals (Formerly ExxonMobil – Port Mobil Terminal)
On August 31, 2009, EPA issued an order under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) requiring both ExxonMobil Oil Corporation and Kinder Morgan Liquids Terminals LLC, to perform approximately $5 million in corrective action work at a petroleum bulk storage and distribution facility on Staten Island in New York City. EPA previously issued an order requiring Mobil Oil Corporation to conduct a RCRA Facility Investigation (RFI) at the facility. The RCRA Facility Investigation concluded that there had been impacts from facility operations to the soil and groundwater at the facility which included various forms of petroleum-related contamination. The 2009 order requires the completion of cleanup work, including steps to enhance corrective action activities already underway and the selection and implementation of other final cleanup measures.
Western Refining Company, a petroleum refinery near Gallup, New Mexico, was cited eight times under Resource Conservation and Recovery Act for illegal storage and treatment of hazardous waste containing benzene, a human carcinogen. Western claimed that its’unpermitted benzene air strippers expelled 8715.8 lbs benzene from the waste stream into the air annually. The remainder of the waste stream was sent to aeration lagoons. In settlement, Western Refining agreed to pay a $734,008.00 penalty, cease discharges of benzene into its aeration lagoons, and close the aeration lagoons that received hazardous waste. Western Refining further agreed to build an upgraded wastewater treatment facility, dismantle the benzene air strippers once the wastewater treatment facility is complete, and provide financial assurance for the closure of the aeration lagoons and the removal of the benzene strippers at the facility. Current estimates indicate Western Refining will spend $4 million to update its wastewater treatment system and the new system will result in the reduction of 702 million pounds of hazardous waste being land disposed. In addition, estimates indicate Western Refining will spend $3.6 million to remediate and close the aeration lagoons.
United States Department of Agriculture, Puerto Rico
EPA reached an agreement with the United States Department of Agriculture regarding underground storage tank safety violations whereby the United State Department of Agriculture will pay $30,000 in penalties for failing to: provide corrosion protection for steel piping in contact with the ground, conduct release detection, perform line tightness tests for the pipes Department of Agriculture’s Tropical Agriculture Research Stations in Mayaguez and Isabela, Puerto Rico. The Department of Agriculture also agreed to remove the gasoline and diesel from the tanks while moving forward with plans to remove the systems at both the Mayaguez and Isabela facilities. [More Information]
United States Department of Agriculture Facility, Beltsville, Maryland
The Department of Agriculture paid $65,066 in penalties for failing to conduct release, annual line leak detection, and annual line tightness tests at its Beltsville Agricultural Research Service in Beltsville, Maryland. EPA also cited Department of Agriculture for violating Resource Conservation and Recovery Act requirements for operating a facility for the storage, treatment and/or disposal of hazardous waste without a permit, failing to clearly label containers of accumulated hazardous waste, not maintaining records of hazardous waste training for facility personnel and failing to determine if the solid waste generated by the facility was hazardous waste. [More Information]
Army National Guard and the Army & Air Force Exchange Service, Puerto Rico
The Puerto Rico Army National Guard ("Guard") and the Army & Air Force Exchange Service together paid a $69,000 fine for UST violations at their Camp Santiago facility in Salinas, Puerto Rico. The Guard will also install a system to conserve water and reduce pollution at the facility, estimated to cost $670,000, which will remove more than 11 million pounds of pollution. [More Information]
United States Army, Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland
The United States Army agreed to pay a $29,928 civil penalty and to perform a supplemental environmental project (SEP) at a cost of $209,432 at Aberdeen Proving Ground in Aberdeen, Maryland, to settle alleged violations of underground fuel storage tank regulations. The violations involved 28 underground tanks at the Aberdeen facility that were used to store gasoline, fuel oil, diesel fuel, and JP-8 jet fuel and ranged in capacity from 600 gallons to 25,000 gallons. The supplemental environmental project involves the removal of the underground storage tanks and the installation of above-ground tanks. [More Information]
General Services Administration, New York and New Jersey
The United States General Services Administration (GSA) paid a $70,000 penalty and corrected violations of underground storage tanks requirements at three GSA facilities in New Jersey and New York. GSA also agreed to voluntarily provide release detection for tanks that store fuel solely for use by emergency power generators. [More Information]
United States Department of Energy, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, California
The United States Department of Energy paid a $165,000 fine for shutting down toxic waste cleanup systems and failing to restart them at its Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in Livermore, California. The systems cleaned up contaminated groundwater, and recent sampling showed that the closure of a large treatment unit had resulted in a loss of control of the contaminated groundwater plume offsite. Some systems at the site have already been restarted; the remaining systems that need to be restarted are subject to an agreed upon and enforceable schedule. [More Information]
Tennessee Valley Authority, Kingston Fossil Fuel Plant, Tennessee
EPA signed an agreement with the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) to oversee the removal of coal ash at the TVA Kingston Fossil Fuel Plant in Roane County, Tennessee, where, on December 22, 2008, a dike at an impoundment for coal ash failed, releasing 5.4 million cubic yards of coal ash into a branch of the Emory River and its tributaries and onto almost 300 acres of adjacent land. EPA is overseeing the cleanup and TVA is reimbursing EPA for its oversight costs. To facilitate public involvement, upon EPA’s request, TVA also provided a $50,000 award to an eligible community group to contract an independent technical advisor to help the local community interpret technical documents related to response actions.
Coal ash at the site contains arsenic, cadmium, chromium, copper, lead, mercury, nickel, selenium and zinc, which are hazardous substances as defined under Superfund. Portions of the Emory River continue to be closed to ensure public safety and health. [More Information]
Veteran’s Administration Hospitals in Leavenworth and Topeka, Kansas
The United States Department of Veterans Affairs Eastern Kansas Health Care System (VA) paid a $51,501 penalty and will complete a supplemental environmental project (SEP) to manage pharmaceutical and chemical wastes at its hospitals in Leavenworth and Topeka, Kansas. Violations of RCRA included failure to: perform proper hazardous waste determinations; properly manage hazardous waste; keep proper emergency information posted; develop a proper emergency contingency plan and properly mark hazardous waste containers; and unlawful shipments. The VA will also spend at least $482,069 on a SEP on a program to properly identify, segregate and manage its pharmaceutical and chemical wastes at these hospitals. [More Information]
United States Army, Hanover, New Hampshire
The United States Army Cold Regions Research and Engineering Laboratory in Hanover, New Hampshire paid a $89,500 penalty for violations of federal and state hazardous waste management laws. The violations included failure to determine whether numerous containers held hazardous wastes and properly label hazardous wastes containers. [More Information]