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U.S. Lodges Consent Decrees at the Thea Foss Superfund Site

Release Date: 3/3/2003
Contact Information: Mark MacIntyre
(206) 553-7302

DOJ-03- 133


WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Justice Department today announced it is simultaneously lodging a complaint and two separate consent decrees at the Thea Foss and Wheeler Osgood Problem Areas of the Commencement Bay/Nearshore Tideflats Superfund Site, located near Tacoma, Washington.

Together, the consent decrees contain commitments for 100% of the clean up at the Thea Foss and Wheeler Osgood Waterway Problem Areas in the CB/NT site. Under the two decrees, four settling defendants, comprised of the City of Tacoma and a group of utility companies, will perform the cleanup of the two waterways under separate obligations.

The Environmental Protection Agency has estimated the total value of the clean up at approximately $52 million. Seventy-seven additional parties will pay $13 million to resolve their liability associated with the site. All of the funding parties' money will be placed in a private trust account for use in performance of the remedy by the City of Tacoma, one of the performing groups.

“As a result of today’s settlement, the United States has taken another step in the long and arduous process of cleaning up the Commencement Bay Superfund Site,” said Thomas L. Sansonetti, Assistant Attorney General of the Environment and Natural Resource Division of the U.S. Department of Justice.

“This is a good day for everyone concerned about the health of Commencement Bay,” said EPA Regional Administrator L. John Iani. “It is almost unheard of to have 81 responsible parties come to agreement on such a complex clean-up. It is an indication of genuine commitment to progress. And for that the EPA is extremely grateful.”

The settlement was lodged today in the District Court of the Western District of Washington. There will be a 30 day public comment period during which the United States will accept comments on the settlements before it is presented to the court for entry.
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Department of Justice Contact: ENRD (202) 514-2007