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Release Date: 11/5/1998
Contact Information: Ruth Podems (215) 814-5540

LEHIGH COUNTY, Pa. - The U.S. has agreed to settle its lawsuit over past cleanup costs at the Novak Sanitary Landfill Superfund site in South Whitehall Township.  

Thirty defendants have agreed to pay a total of $1,035,931 to reimburse the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for money the agency has already spent on the site’s cleanup.  The terms of the settlement are contained in an October 23, 1998 consent decree, which is subject to a 30-day public comment period and final court approval.

The settling defendants are also must complete the cleanup under an EPA order. These parties are currently designing a landfill cap, with construction expected to start in Spring 1999.

This 65-acre site was a privately owned municipal landfill from the mid-1950s through 1984, when the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Resources ordered it closed.  The landfill later reopened for small amounts of refuse, and finally closed for good in 1990.

EPA estimates that 80 percent of the waste accepted was residential trash, paper and wood products.  However, the rest included hazardous substance-containing sludge, incinerator ash, paint resins, scrap metals, metal turnings, plate electronic components, and used containers of paint, ink and agricultural products.  The contaminants include organic compounds such as ethyl benzene, methyl ethyl ketone, toluene, and 1,1,1-trichloroethane and naphthalene, and metals such as chromium, lead, and zinc.

EPA designated Novak Landfill as a Superfund site in January 1989.  Last year, the Department of Justice, on behalf of EPA, filed a lawsuit to recover cleanup costs from parties believed responsible for the hazardous substances found at the site.  The government has previously reached settlements totaling $380,485 with eight parties that contributed only a small amount of the hazardous substances found at the site.

The settlement resolves the Superfund claims against the following defendants:  Air Products and Chemicals, Inc., American Nickeloid Co., Atlas Minerals & Chemicals, Inc., Boise Cascade Corp., Day Timers, Inc., Fuller Co., GAF Corp., General Electric Co., General Machine Corp., Houghton International, Inc., Ingersoll-Rand Co., Lehigh Valley Hospital Center, Inc., Lucent Technologies, Inc., Mack Trucks Inc., Mary MacIntosh Pennsylvania, Inc., NCR Corp., Olin Corp., Pennsylvania Power & Light Co., Raytheon Appliances Inc., Reckitt & Colman, Inc., Simon-Atlantico, Inc., Stanley Storage Systems, Inc., Stroh Brewery Co., Tarkett Inc., Tenneco Packaging, Inc., TPI of Texas, Inc., W.R. Grace & Co. - Conn., E. Schneider & Sons, Inc., Hilda T. Novak and Novak Sanitary Landfill, Inc.