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News Releases from Region 01

Settlement Reached at the Peterson/Puritan, Inc. Superfund Site in Cumberland and Lincoln, R.I.

Contact Information: 
David Deegan (deegan.dave@epa.gov)

BOSTON - A settlement estimated to be worth more than $40 million was announced today by the U.S. Department of Justice, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Protection (RIDEM). The settlement ensures that cleanup of "Operable Unit Two" of the Peterson/Puritan, Inc. Superfund Site in Cumberland and Lincoln, R.I. will move forward.

The agreement, lodged in federal court in Providence, resolves federal and state liability claims against nearly 100 potentially responsible parties for the cleanup of the site. Under the settlement, 22 of the settling defendants will be responsible for implementation of the remedy selected by EPA in 2015. These parties will also pay for the oversight costs incurred by EPA and RIDEM. The remaining settling parties are required to make payments to a trust to be used to help pay for performance of the site cleanup.

The area being cleaned, known as Operable Unit Two, is located adjacent to the Blackstone River and contains many parcels within the Blackstone River floodplain. These parcels include the J.M. Mills Landfill, the former Nunes transfer station, and an unnamed island, all of which contain waste material. These parcels were owned and operated as a single landfill operation by Joseph and Linda Marszalkowski through their business J.M. Mills, Inc.

The selected remedy includes excavation and consolidation of contaminated soils and sediments, construction of a multi-layered impermeable cap, institutional controls and long term monitoring. The total cost for the selected remedy is estimated to be $40.3 million.

"EPA's cleanup plan for this site protects peoples' health, while at the same time it ensures the area remains aesthetically pleasing," said Curt Spalding, regional administrator of EPA’s New England office. "This settlement allows for the funding of our cleanup plan, and leaves those who contributed taking responsibility."

"This Consent Decree is another critical step forward in our efforts to clean up this site and hold responsible parties accountable," said DEM Director Janet Coit. "For decades, hazardous waste was being dumped at Peterson/Puritan, polluting the nearby Blackstone River, groundwater and soils. The Blackstone River Valley is home to Rhode Island's newest National Park, popular state recreational facilities, and an array of natural and historic treasures. Safeguarding this beautiful place is paramount to the health of our environment, communities, and families. We are pleased with the terms of this settlement and grateful to the EPA for its continued leadership and perseverance in this case."

The settling defendants responsible for performing the cleanup include: ACS Industries, Inc.; Alcoa Inc.; Avnet, Inc.; Clean Harbors, Inc.; Costa, Inc.; Cumberland Engineering Corp.; CVS Pharmacy, Inc.; General Cable Industries, Inc.; Hindley Manufacturing Co., Inc.; Hollingsworth & Vose Co.; International Paper Co.; KIK Custom Products, Inc.; Philips Electronics North America Corp.; Sears Roebuck & Co.; Shawmut Corp.; Supervalu Holdings, Inc.; Teknor Apex Co.; Texas Instruments Inc.; The Narragansett Electric Co.; The Stop & Shop Supermarket Co. LLC; Waste Management of Massachusetts, Inc.; Waste Management Disposal Services of Massachusetts, Inc.; Waste Management of Rhode Island, Inc.; and Wyman-Gordon Co.

Disposal activities took place from approximately 1954 to the late 1980s during which assorted hazardous wastes and hazardous substances were disposed of at the site. During this time more than 2.1 million cubic yards of waste were disposed of at the site, resulting in contamination of the soil, groundwater, surface water, and sediments. The site was listed on EPA's National Priorities List in 1983.

More information:

The consent decree, lodged in the U.S. District Court for the District of Rhode Island, is subject to a 30-day public comment period and approval by the federal court. The consent decree will be available following posting on the Dept. of Justice Web site at: www.justice.gov/enrd/consent-decrees .

EPA information about the Peterson/Puritan, Inc. Superfund Site (www.epa.gov/superfund/peterson)