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EPA and Private Parties Reach Settlement Over Superfund Site in Essex County (Bayonne Barrel and Drum)

Release Date: 03/21/2005
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For Release: Monday, March 21, 2005

(#05023) NEW YORK The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has reached an agreement with 11 private parties, requiring them to immediately pay $800,000 for part of the $3 million in cleanup work conducted by EPA at the Bayonne Barrel & Drum Superfund site in Newark, New Jersey. The parties are also required to pay the $2.2 million balance of EPA's past cleanup expenditures, minus the value of future work that is anticipated to be conducted at the site by private parties.

"EPA is pleased that the private parties have stepped up to the plate to clean up the contamination at the Bayonne Barrel & Drum site, which will be protective to people's health," said Acting EPA Regional Administrator Kathleen C. Callahan. "With this agreement, EPA will be reimbursed for the cost of our work, while the responsible parties continue to clean up the site at their own expense."

In 2003, EPA entered into a prior agreement with the 11 private parties to conduct additional cleanup work. They agreed to maintain site security, abate and remove asbestos, and dispose of various waste materials from the site including liquids, solids, sludges, tanks, piping and other equipment. The private parties also demolished buildings and other structures on the site and disposed of the demolition debris. To date, they have spent about $1.2 million cleaning up the site. They are working towards developing a final cleanup plan. EPA and the private parties expect to enter into a third settlement agreement for the final cleanup.

Bayonne Barrel & Drum operated as a barrel and drum reconditioning facility in the early 1940's until the early 1980's when the company filed for bankruptcy. The site is contaminated with polychlorinated biphenyls, dioxin/furans, metals, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, petroleum hydrocarbons and various other hazardous substances. A number of companies, including the parties named in this settlement and in a prior settlement, are deemed potentially responsible because their drums were sent to the site for reconditioning. In 1994, EPA established site security, and has since removed 46,000 drums including liquid and solid hazardous wastes, cyanide residue, tank liquids and sludges, and dioxin contaminated ash piles.

Under the current settlement, the private parties are obligated to pay the balance of EPA's past cleanup costs within 18 months. This payment is subject to a potential adjustment based on the amount of future work private parties are expected to perform at the site.