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Release Date: 06/12/2000
Contact Information: Alice Kaufman, EPA Press Office, 617.918.1064 Rick Lombardi, DEP Press Office, 617-292-5845

Boston - The U. S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection have reached settlements with two landowner groups, marking the completion of enforcement activities at the Nyanza Chemical Waste Dump Superfund Site in Ashland, MA. The settlements include limited payments to EPA and DEP for reimbursement of past response costs, but more importantly, requires the recording of land use restrictions on certain parcels at the Site to ensure that the public and the environment are protected from remaining underground contaminants.

On May 26, 2000, the United States and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts each lodged two consent decrees with the United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts. The first consent decree was entered into with four landowners, including Robert Gayner, MCL Development Corporation (a corporation owned by Mr. Gayner), Edward Camille, and John Glynn, Jr. (as Trustee of the Environmental Restoration Engineering Trust and the AIF Realty Trust). This settlement involves 26 parcels of land at or adjacent to the Site -- 22 parcels totaling about 126 acres owned by Mr. Gayner and MCL Development Corporation, 2 parcels totaling about 2.4 acres owned by Mr. Camille, and 2 parcels totaling about 1.7 acres owned by Mr. Glynn. These landowners will make payments to the United States and the Commonwealth totaling $375,000. Of this amount, $300,000 will be paid to the United States to reimburse EPA for past response costs and $75,000 will be paid to the Commonwealth to reimburse DEP for past response costs.

The second consent decree was entered into with three landowners, including Nelson Holden and Martha Holden (as Trustees of the Holden-Ashland Trust), and William Leacu. This settlement involves 3 parcels of land at the Site -- 2 parcels totaling about 1.4 acres owned by the Holden-Ashland Trust and 1 parcel of about 1 acre owned by Mr. Leacu. These landowners are not required to pay any money in connection with the settlement.

All of these landowners have also agreed to record land use restrictions with respect to their parcels due to remaining underground contamination within the 13-acre onsite landfill, in the groundwater, and potentially under some of the industrial parcels. These restrictions will prohibit the following activities from certain parcels: 1) groundwater extraction, consumption, or utilization; 2) soil excavation; 3) construction of buildings; 4) residential, daycare, school, recreational, or agricultural use; and/or 5) interference with the remedy. EPA/DEP may, however, allow landowners to engage in prohibited activities if they provide appropriate plans and technical analyses demonstrating that their proposed activities will not result in an unacceptable risk to human health or the environment. Certain minor activities outside the landfill area, such as surface paving/re-paving, landscaping, installing fences, or other small excavation projects, are not prohibited and would not require prior government approval. Landowners may be subject to a fine of $1,000 for each day of each violation of a restriction.

A notice of these two settlements was published in the Federal Register on June 8, 2000 which initiated a 30-day public comment period with respect to the decrees. At the end of the comment period, the United States and the Commonwealth will finalize the decrees unless comments have been submitted indicating that the settlements are inappropriate, inadequate, or improper. Comments on the settlements should be sent to the Assistant Attorney General for the Environment and Natural Resources Division, P.O. Box 7611, Ben Franklin Station, Washington, D.C. 20044 and will be received through July 8, 2000. The consent decrees are available for review at the Ashland Public Library, 66 Front Street, Ashland, MA or at EPA New England, One Congress Street, Boston, MA (contact Peter DeCambre, 617-918-1890).

Payments made under three previous settlements in 1997 and 1998 with prior owners, operators, and successors have resulted in the recovery of about $12.8 million for response costs and natural resource damages claims. These two additional settlements will bring the total recovered costs to just over $13 million.

Between 1917 and 1978 a succession of interrelated companies manufactured textile dyes on the 35-acre Site, producing large amounts of toxic wastes and contaminants. Nyanza Inc., the last of this succession of companies, owned and operated the Site from 1965 until it went out of business in 1978. During that time large quantities of contaminated sludges that contained mercury, chromium, and lead were disposed onsite. Other chemicals disposed of included organic chemicals such as dichlorobenzene, chlorobenzene, aniline, and nitrobenzene which contaminated the groundwater in the area. Mercury from the Site has been found in sediments and fish in the Sudbury River. The Site was added to the National Priorities List in 1983.