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Agreement Ensures Funding for Second Phase of Cleanup at Industri-Plex Site in Woburn, Mass.

Release Date: 02/27/2008
Contact Information: U.S. EPA, David Deegan, (617) 918-1017 U.S. DOJ, (202) 514-2007, TDD (202) 514-1888

(Boston, Mass. – Feb. 27, 2008) – A comprehensive settlement between the federal government, the Pharmacia Corporation and Bayer CropScience Inc. will ensure the second phase of cleanup actions at the Industri-Plex Superfund Site in Woburn, Massachusetts. The settlement agreement is contained in a Consent Decree lodged today in the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts by the U.S. Dept. of Justice on behalf of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

The settlement agreement clears the way for work to begin cleaning up contaminated soil, sediment, groundwater and surface water at the site under the oversight of EPA. The site is primarily contaminated with heavy metals such as arsenic, as well as ammonia, and volatile organic compounds such as benzene.

The comprehensive cleanup costs are estimated to be approximately $25.6 million. Further, the settlement calls for the settling parties to pay for all future federal oversight expenses, and recovers $6 million in past response costs incurred by the federal government at the site.

Pharmacia Corporation is a successor to the Monsanto Company, which manufactured chemicals at the site. Bayer CropScience Inc. is a successor to Stauffer Chemical Company, which manufactured glue products at the site.

“This marks the beginning of a new chapter at the Industri-Plex Superfund Site,” said Ira Leighton, Deputy Regional Administrator of EPA’s New England office. “The settlement agreement ensures that the site, including portions of the Aberjona River, will be cleaned up for the benefit of the community. We look forward to working with the settling parties and the community over the next several years to implement the site’s cleanup.”

“This settlement demonstrates the Justice Department's commitment to ensuring Superfund sites like this one are cleaned and restored,” said Ronald J. Tenpas, Assistant Attorney General for the Environment and Natural Resources Division, of the U.S. Department of Justice.

Under the terms of the consent decree, the settling parties are required to implement the January 2006 “Record of Decision,” a comprehensive cleanup plan for the second phase at the site. The plan calls for the parties to address soil, sediment, groundwater and surface water contamination at the site.

The work called for in this second phase of work will include:

- Dredging and off-site disposal of contaminated sediments;
- Using the northern portion of the Halls Brook Holding Area Pond as a treatment and sediment retention area;
- Establishing institutional controls to restrict contact with contaminated soils, groundwater and sediments;
- Constructing wetlands to compensate for wetlands impacted by the cleanup;
- Long-term monitoring of the groundwater, surface water and sediments to ensure that clean up measures continue to protect human health and the environment.

“The City appreciates the efforts of the EPA, as well as the settling properties, in undertaking measures that will ensure the continued protection of the residents of Woburn, and that the City will be closely observing the implementation of the remedy to be sure that the interests of the City and its residents are properly protected,” said Thomas L. McLaughlin, Mayor of City of Woburn.

Chemical and glue operations occurred at the Woburn, Mass. site for more than a century, from approximately 1853 to 1969. The Industri-Plex site was added to the national Superfund list in 1983 due to soil, sediment and water contamination from heavy metals including arsenic, ammonia and volatile organic compounds such as benzene. The site contains four animal hide piles capped as part of an earlier cleanup action, and includes portions of the Aberjona River and associated wetlands.

The consent decree, lodged today in the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts, is subject to a 30-day public comment period and approval by the federal court. Comments should be mailed to:

Assistant Attorney General
Environment and Natural Resources Division
P.O. Box 7611
U.S. Department of Justice
Washington, D.C. 20044-7611
Re: United States v Bayer CropScience Inc, DJ Ref. 90-11-2-228/6

More information:

- The
Industir-Plex consent decree (

EPA's Industri-Plex Superfund Site Web site (

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