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Enforcement

Case Summary: EPA Receives $2.225 Million Settlement for Response Costs at the Valmont TCE Superfund Site

On June 5, 2014, the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania entered a settlement agreement for more than $2.2 million to resolve past costs associated with cleanup work at the Valmont TCE Superfund Site in Pennsylvania. The cleanup work included removal of contaminated soil and extraction of trichloroethylene (TCE) contaminated soil vapor.

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Information about the Valmont Group

The Valmont Group was a New York General Partnership that owned the site from July 1978 until October 1991. Prior to 1986, the general partners of the Valmont Group were also officers and shareholders of Chromatex, Inc.From 1978 to 1991, Chromatex leased the Site from the Valmont Partners. Chromatex acquired the Site from the Valmont Partners in October 1991. Chromatex operated an upholstery manufacturing plant at the Site commencing in July 1978, until approximately 2001.

Information about the Valmont TCE Superfund Site

The Valmont TCE Superfund Site is located in the Valmont Industrial Park in West Hazleton, Penn. Initially, in 1963, Valmont TCE was developed by CAN DO, Inc., but ownership has changed hands several times since then. Valmont TCE was once the former property of the Valmont Group (from 1978 to 1991) and Chromatex (from 1991 until approximately 2014). From 1978 until March 2001, the plant was used by Chromatex for upholstery fabric manufacturing. Chromatex purchased the plant from Valmont Partners in 1991. Currently the building is used for storage of nonhazardous materials.

Ground water contamination was originally discovered in October of 1987 after samples were taken from private wells. The ground water is contaminated with TCE resulting from a spill. The nearby residential wells are also contaminated, but those homes have been hooked up to the public water supply.

Additional information about the Valmont TCE Superfund Site.

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Pollutants and Environmental Effects

TCE is a nonflammable, colorless liquid with a somewhat sweet odor and a sweet, burning taste. It is used mainly as a solvent to remove grease from metal parts, but it is also an ingredient in adhesives, paint removers, typewriter correction fluids, and spot removers. TCE is not thought to occur naturally in the environment. However, it has been found in underground water sources and many surface waters as a result of the manufacture, use, and disposal of the chemical.

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Information about the Consent Judgment

The Consent Judgment memorialized a settlement of claims relating to a 1994 judgment by the Court finding Chromatex, Inc., the Valmont Group, and former general partners of the Valmont Group liable under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA, commonly referred to as Superfund) for response costs incurred by the United States. The Consent Judgment also settled CERCLA contribution and common law claims asserted by the Valmont Partners against Chromatex, Inc. and other related parties.

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Contact Information

For more information contact

Manuel Ronquillo
Attorney-Advisor
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
1200 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, D.C. 20460
202-564-6065
ronquillo.manuel@epa.gov

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