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Enforcement

Case Summary: EPA Recovers $2.6 million in Past Costs and Defers the Capitol City Plume Superfund Site to Alabama

On September 30, 2015, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Alabama Department of Environmental Management (ADEM), and the Downtown Environmental Alliance (Alliance) held a signing ceremony that included EPA’s agreement to defer listing of this Site on the Superfund National Priorities List (NPL). The ceremony included the signing of three agreements:

  1. A past cost settlement agreement between the EPA and Alliance resolving $2.6 million of EPA’s past Superfund response costs at this site;
  2. An enforceable work agreement between the ADEM and Alliance to conduct the remaining response action at the site; and
  3. A Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) between the EPA and the ADEM formalizing EPA’s decision to defer listing the Capitol City Plume Superfund Site on the NPL ("Deferral MOA").

The Deferral MOA is the first of its kind on a site-specific basis within EPA’s southeast regional office (Region 4). This cooperative effort included the innovative use of tree-core sampling and related enforcement tools to identify potentially responsible parties (PRPs) where none had been identified for nearly 20 years, coordination with high-level representatives of a diverse group of PRPs and stakeholders, and resolution of significant political and community concerns related to the public health and continued redevelopment of a downtown community.

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Information about the Settling Parties

Negotiating the three agreements involved a major collaborative effort among federal, state, and local governments and a private PRP. Parties to the work agreement with ADEM include an alliance of public and private entities, including the city of Montgomery, the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency, the Alabama Department of Education, the Alabama Department of Transportation, the Montgomery County Commission, the Montgomery Water Works & Sanitary Sewer Board, and the Montgomery Advertiser Company.

Information about the Capitol City Plume Superfund Site

The Capitol City Plume Superfund Site encompasses nearly 50 city blocks in downtown Montgomery, Ala. The site contains distinct plumes of tetrachloroethylene contamination and is located in an area of mixed land use with the majority of the site consisting of governmental and commercial office buildings.

This collaborative effort will make a visible difference in the community by facilitating the revitalization of downtown Montgomery, which is a redevelopment priority. In 2010, the city of Montgomery planted 2 acres of poplar trees, which through their root system help break down contaminants in the shallow ground water.

The city of Montgomery relied on EPA pilot funds to investigate reuse options and coordinated with EPA on potential future land use. The city is also in the process of integrating the site’s reuse plan with the city’s master plan for riverfront development, which has already helped transform an assortment of commercial property and open space into the downtown’s new Riverfront Amphitheater and Conference Complex. During the site’s groundwater cleanup, downtown remains open for business. Future land use includes retail districts, neighborhoods, parks, offices, and industrial areas. Referred to as the “heart of the city,” recent Montgomery redevelopment projects include the Montgomery Biscuits minor league baseball stadium and retail centers.

More information about the Capitol City Plum Superfund Site.

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Summary of the Agreements and Memorandum of Agreement

The administrative settlement agreement and order on consent (ASAOC) for EPA’s past costs requires the payment of $2.6 million by Alliance of public and private entities.

The settlement agreement for site cleanup requires the Alliance parties to (1) develop and submit a Community Involvement and Outreach Plan, (2) prepare and to submit a Risk Assessment/Alternatives Analysis, (3) develop a remedial action plan, and (4) implement a remedy to address the contamination.

At the request of city of Montgomery, EPA agreed, pursuant to EPA policy, to defer listing the site on the National Priorities List (NPL) while the ADEM oversees the response action. The deferral MOA outlines the roles and responsibilities of each agencies in the deferral of the site, including community involvement.

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Contact Information

For information contact

Stephen P. Smith
Associate Regional Counsel
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
Region 4
Office of Regional Counsel
61 Forsyth Street, S.W.
Atlanta, Georgia 30303
404-562-9554
smith.stephen@epa.gov

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