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Enforcement

Case Summary: Bankruptcy Settlements Reached with the Eastman Kodak Company worth $49 Million

On May 13, 2014, the U.S Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York approved bankruptcy settlement agreements between the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Department of Justice (DOJ), and Eastman Kodak Company (Kodak). The agreements resolve Kodak’s liabilities under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) at the Eastman Business Park (EBP) in Rochester, N.Y. and the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA) at the Mercury Refining Superfund Site in Colonie and Guilderland, N.Y., and the Fair Lawn Well Field Superfund Site in Fair Lawn, N.J. 

Under the agreements, Kodak commits to fund a trust with $49 million for cleanup at the EBP site and the Genesee River; the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) agrees to fund any additional costs of cleanup between $49 million and $99 million; and Kodak and DEC each agree to pay half of any costs above $99 million.

In the agreement between the United States and Kodak, Kodak will pay the United States $2 million for the Fair Lawn Well Field Superfund Site and approximately $750,000 for the Mercury Refining Superfund Site, plus additional amounts for each of the sites pursuant to the terms of Kodak’s plan of reorganization.

"The proposed legal agreements will provide funding to clean up the toxic legacy that Kodak has left in Rochester. They are designed to protect public health and the environment, including cleaning up the Genesee River, while supporting the creation of scores of much needed new jobs in Rochester.”  EPA Regional Administrator Judith A. Enck

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Information about the Eastman Kodak Company

Kodak is an American technology company focused on imaging solutions and services for businesses. The company is headquartered in Rochester, N.Y. and incorporated in New Jersey.

Information about the Sites

  Eastman Business Park (EBP)

EBP is approximately a 1,100 acre complex across nearly 4 miles through the City of Rochester and the Town of Greece, N.Y. Although Kodak filed for bankruptcy on January 19, 2012, EBP continues to be a large, integrated manufacturing plant producing photographic films, synthetic organic chemicals, and toner and ink materials for printing. It is the company’s headquarters for research and development and also includes tenants and companies that lease or have bought buildings at the site. More information about the Eastman Business Park.

   Fair Lawn Well Field Superfund Site

EPA added the Fair Lawn Well Field Superfund Site to the National Priorities List (NPL) in September 1983 due to the fact that contaminants were found at three municipal wells. These wells are part of the Westmoreland Well Field which supplies drinking water to residents of Fair Lawn located in Bergen County, N.J. More information on the Fair Lawn Well Field Superfund Site.

  Mercury Refining, Inc. Superfund Site

The EPA added the Mercury Refining, Inc. Superfund Site to the NPL on September 1, 1983 because of mercury in the ground water, soil, and sediments. The site is located on the border of the Towns of Colonie and Guilderland, N.Y.

From approximately 1956 to 1998, Mercury Refining, Inc., reclaimed mercury from batteries and other mercury-bearing materials at the site, which lies in an industrial and commercial area. Approximately 100,000 people live within a three mile radius. Water near the site is used for drinking water and recreation. More information on the Mercury Refining, Inc. Superfund Site.

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Background Information on the Bankruptcy Proceedings

On January 19, 2012, Kodak and certain affiliated debtors filed for bankruptcy in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York. The DOJ, on behalf of the EPA, filed a proof of claim stating that Kodak has various obligations under RCRA at the EBP site and CERCLA liability at the Mercury Refining and Fair Lawn Superfund sites.

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Summary of the Settlement Agreements

Three agreements were approved by the U.S. Bnkruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York. The first two agreements relate to environmental cleanup at the EBP and the adjacent Genesee River. These settlements, one between the United States and Kodak, and the related funding agreement between the United States and the New York State DEC provide the following:

  • Kodak commits to fund a trust with $49 million for cleanup at the EBP site and the Genesee River;
  • DEC agrees to fund any additional costs of cleanup between $49 million and $99 million; and
  • Kodak and DEC each agree to pay half of any costs above $99 million.

As described in the funding agreement between the United States and New York DEC, there is and agreement to create a plan for the investigation of contamination in the Genesee River and the selection and implementation of a cleanup remedy.

The settlement agreement with Kodak provides liability protection in exchange for the company's completion of the required work. Moreover, EPA agrees to consider prospective purchaser agreements for new tenants of EBP.

The third agreement approved by the bankruptcy court is a settlement agreement between the United States and Kodak relating to Kodak’s environmental liabilities at the Fair Lawn Well Field and Mercury Refining Superfund Sites. Under this agreement, Kodak will pay for past cleanup work performed by the United States with $2 million for the Fair Lawn Well Field Site in New Jersey and approximately $750,000 for the Mercury Refining site in New York, plus additional amounts for each of the sites pursuant to the terms of Kodak’s plan of reorganization.

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Contact Information

For more information contact

David Smith-Watts
Attorney-Advisor
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
1200 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, D.C. 20460
202-564-4083
smith-watts.david@epa.gov

Phil Page
Senior Attorney-Advisor
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
1200 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, D.C. 20460
202-564-4211
page.phillip@epa.gov

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