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EPA, DOJ file complaint, seek penalties and more than $2.8 million to recover costs at Arizona Superfund site

Release Date: 7/12/2004
Contact Information: Wendy L. Chavez, 415-947-4248,

SAN FRANCISCO- - The U.S. Department of Justice recently filed a complaint seeking recovery of more than $2.8 million in costs, and penalties and punitive damages for violation of EPA orders regarding cleanup of soil and ground water contamination at the Phoenix-Goodyear Airport North Superfund Site.

The complaint, filed in U.S. District Court in Arizona on behalf of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, seeks to establish the liability of both Unidynamics/Phoenix, Inc. and Crane Co. for past and future costs for oversight and work the EPA conducted at the PGA-North site. The EPA is also seeking penalties from Unidynamics/Phoenix Inc. of up to $27,500 to $32,500 for each day that the company failed to conduct work required under two EPA orders issued in 1990 and 2003.

"The EPA is seeking to recover Superfund money, and to ensure prompt cleanup of soil and ground water contamination at the site -- which continue to threaten valuable drinking water resources," said Wayne Nastri, the EPA's regional administrator for the Pacific Southwest region. "We are conserving the Superfund by ensuring that those who contributed to the contamination pay for the cleanup."

PGA-North is part of the larger Phoenix-Goodyear Airport Area Superfund Site. The site was listed on the federal Superfund list in 1983 after the Arizona Department of Health Services discovered hazardous substances -- including trichloroethylene, also known as TCE -- in local water supply wells. Cleanup has been underway at the site for over a decade, and the EPA is now working to confirm the full extent of contamination and adapt the cleanup to address it.

Beginning in the 1960's, defense and aerospace component systems, including pyrotechnics and explosives, were manufactured at the facility near the Phoenix-Goodyear Airport and resulted in hazardous substance releases. Following investigation throughout the late 1980s, the EPA in 1989 selected the remedy to clean up soil and ground water contamination.

The EPA issued two orders against Unidynamics/Phoenix, Inc. requiring the company to design and conduct cleanup at the site. The company continues some cleanup activities required in the orders, but violated the orders when it failed to conduct certain portions of the cleanup -- forcing the EPA to expend funds and conduct the work in its place.

The Phoenix-Goodyear Airport site is comprised of a northern and southern area -- Unidynamics and Crane Co. are the potentially responsible parties only for the northern portion.

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