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Government reaches agreement on Hylebos Clean-up

Release Date: 6/3/2004
Contact Information: Bill Dunbar
(206) 553-1203

June 2, 2004

Atofina, General Metals to Spend $30 million on Work at Head of Hylebos

WASHINGTON , D.C. - The Justice Department and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today announced they have reached a settlement with Atofina Chemicals, Inc. and General Metals of Tacoma, Inc., for the clean-up of the Head of the Hylebos Waterway Problem Area of the Commencement Bay Nearshore/Tideflats Superfund Site in Tacoma, Washington.

The consent decree filed today in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington will require Atofina and General Metals to spend approximately $30 million to clean up the Head of the Hylebos Problem Area. The companies will dredge and remove about 400,000 cubic yards of contaminated sediments and cap four acres of contaminated sediment. Under the terms of the settlement, the companies will received approximately $7 million from a previous cash out settlement to help fund the cost of clean-up.

The channel bottom and intertidal areas of the Hylebos are contaminated with chemical wastes, sludges, and miscellaneous industrial waste from a variety of nearby sources. The EPA designated two Problem Areas in the Hylebos Waterway that require clean-up: the Mouth of the Hylebos, and the Head of the Hylebos. Commencement Bay is located in and adjacent to Tacoma, Washington in south Puget Sound.

While the agreement announced today concerns clean-up of the Head of the Hylebos Problem Area, the government expects to conclude negotiations shortly for consent decrees which will require the cleanup of the Mouth of the Hylebos Problem Area. Together, these agreements will achieve 100 percent of the required cleanup of the Hylebos Waterway.

In the last year the government also has received commitments for clean up at the Thea Foss Waterway and the Middle Waterway. These settlements provide for a comprehensive, cooperative approach to addressing the environmental problems throughout the Commencement Bay Site.

The proposed consent decree is subject to a 30-day public comment period.