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U.S., Virginia settle Superfund case involving Atlantic Wood Industries Superfund Site in Portsmouth, Va.

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PHILADELPHIA (March 7, 2019) The United States and the Commonwealth of Virginia have entered into an agreement under which the U.S Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Virginia will recover nearly $64 million to address cleanup costs at the Atlantic Wood Industries (AWI) Superfund Site in Portsmouth, Va.

In a proposed consent decree filed today in federal court, the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) and the Department of the Navy will pay EPA $55.3 million for cleanup costs, and pay Virginia $8.5 million for past costs and future activities Virginia will conduct at the site.

Along with cleanup costs, DoD and the Navy will fund a $1.5 million oyster restoration project to be implemented by Virginia in the Southern Branch of the Elizabeth River.

The settlement also provides that Atlantic Wood Industries and Atlantic Metrocast, the AWI Site owners/operators, will reimburse EPA and Virginia $250,000 plus interest for site cleanup costs.

The agreement was reached under the federal Superfund law -- formally known as the Comprehensive Environmental Responsibility, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) -- which requires landowners, current and former operators, waste generators and waste transporters responsible for contaminating a Superfund site to clean up the site or reimburse the government or other parties for cleanup activities.

The AWI site, located on the Southern Branch of the Elizabeth River and immediately north of the Norfolk Naval Shipyard’s Southgate Annex, was the former location of a wood treating facility and includes approximately 50 acres of land and more than 30 acres of river sediments.

Since 2010, EPA has been performing the cleanup at the site to remediate hazardous substances, including polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons from creosote, pentachlorophenol, and associated dioxin, as well as heavy metals present in soils, ground water, and sediments at the site.

The EPA-approved plan for the cleanup of contaminated soils, river sediments, and groundwater at the site includes: construction of an offshore sheet pile wall; dredging with consolidation and capping of contaminated sediments behind the wall and at the west portion of the site; excavation or on-site treatment of contaminated soils; monitoring natural attenuation of ground water and natural recovery of contaminated sediments; operation and maintenance of the remedy; and land-use controls.

The proposed consent decree is subject to a 30-day public comment period and court approval.

A copy of the consent decree is available here:

For more information about this site and its cleanup, see