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Settlement Reached on the Rose Hill Regional Landfill Superfund site

Release Date: 01/03/03
Contact Information: Alice Kaufman, EPA Press Office, 617-918-1064

Boston–The United States Environmental Protection Agency and the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management (RIDEM) have signed a settlement agreement, worth an estimated $8.56 million, with the towns of South Kingstown and Narragansett, RI on costs associated with the cleanup of the Rose Hill Regional Landfill Superfund Site in South Kingstown, RI.

The agreement, known as a Consent Decree, requires that the towns partially reimburse EPA and the state of Rhode Island for costs already incurred to cleanup contamination at the landfill. It also formally recognizes RIDEM as the lead agency for the remaining cleanup, including the engineering design and conducting operation and maintenance activities to ensure the effectiveness of the cleanup remedy at the site.

The settlement specifically requires that the towns:

    • pay EPA past costs of $4,000,000 plus interest and 30 % of EPA's future costs for remedial design and cleanup in excess of $8.5 million;
    • pay 30% of the state's actual remedial design, remedial action and operation and maintenance costs, some of which will be paid through the towns' performance of in-kind services during the operation and maintenance period.
According to this agreement RIDEM will:
    • pay 50% of the remedial design and cleanup costs and 100% of operation and maintenance costs (30% of which will be recovered from the towns);
    • consolidate wastes into a single waste unit over which a multi-layer protective cap will be installed, collect and manage leachate and storm water runoff during the project, and monitor and treat landfill gas emissions; and
    • perform long-term operation and maintenance at an estimated cost of $6.7 million.
EPA estimates the total costs associated with the cleanup of the Rose Hill landfill to be $32.7 million. Through this settlement the towns will contribute $8.56 million of overall site cleanup costs, and the state will contribute an additional $15.2 million.

The Consent Decree will be available for public review at the South Kingstown Public Library in Peacedale, RI.

The public may also provide comments on the Rose Hill Regional Landfill Superfund Site settlement for thirty days from the date of lodging by sending written comments to:

Assistant Attorney General
Environment and Natural Resources Division
Department of Justice
P.O. Box 7611
Washington, DC 20044

Comments should refer to United States and State of Rhode Island v. Town of South Kingstown, RI and Town of Narragansett, RI, DOJ Reference No. 90-11-3-06627

Site Background:

The Rose Hill Regional Landfill Site is a former municipal landfill located in the town of South Kingstown. The town leased the land as a domestic and industrial waste disposal facility, which operated from 1967 to 1983. In 1983, the facility became inactive, and the operator graded and seeded the disposal areas. A transfer station for municipal waste, currently owned and operated by the town, is located on a portion of the site. An estimated 17,300 people obtain water from wells located within 3 miles of the site.

On-site groundwater monitoring wells contain several volatile organic compounds (VOCs) including 1,1 dichloethane, chloroethane, vinyl chloride, benzene, and xylenes, as well as some heavy metals. Observations indicate that Mitchell Brook, an unnamed brook, and the Saugatucket River are impacted by contaminated runoff from the site. The site is not completely fenced, making it possible for people to come into direct contact with hazardous substances.

The cleanup decision for the Rose Hill site was reached in September 2000, which formed the basis for this negotiation and settlement, and represents the first phase of a phased approach to cleaning up the environmental contamination caused by the site. Operation and maintenance of the engineered components of the remedy, site monitoring, and institutional controls (easements and restrictive covenants concerning land use and use, or alteration of flow, of groundwater) placed on affected properties will assure that the remedy remains protective over the long term.