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Three Parties Agree to Pay for Cleanup of Iron Horse Park Superfund Site in Massachusetts

Release Date: 01/16/2008
Contact Information: EPA 617.918.1017, DOJ 202.514.2007, TDD 202.514.1888

(Boston, Mass. – Jan. 16, 2008)—Boston and Maine Corp., BNZ Materials Inc., and the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA), have agreed to perform environmental cleanup work expected to cost $23.53 million at the 553-acre Iron Horse Park Superfund Site located in Massachusetts, the Justice Department and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced today.

The agreement resolves the liability of the three companies for this phase of the work and provides for the cleanup of the seven different contamination source areas on a portion of the Iron Horse Park Superfund Site. The consent decree also requires the companies to reimburse the EPA for all interim and future response costs, without limitation. It also provides for reimbursement of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts’ past and future response costs.

The Iron Horse Park site is located in an industrial complex in North Billerica, Mass., and includes manufacturing and rail yard maintenance facilities, open storage areas, landfills, and wastewater lagoons. On-site groundwater and surface water are sporadically contaminated with organic and inorganic chemicals, asbestos, and heavy metals including arsenic, cadmium, lead, and selenium. The soil at the site is contaminated with polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), petrochemicals, and the same heavy metals as found in the groundwater. Approximately 61,000 people live within a 3-mile radius of the site. The site was added to EPA’s National Priorities List in September 1984.

“Today's settlement is a demonstration of the Justice Department’s commitment to ensuring that companies that contribute to the creation of Superfund sites take responsibility for their cleanup,” said Ronald J. Tenpas, Assistant Attorney General for the Justice Department’s Environment and Natural Resources Division.

“Now there is a green light for cleanup activities to begin addressing the contamination sources at the Iron Horse Park Superfund Site,” said Robert W. Varney, Regional Administrator of EPA’s New England office. “It ensures that the site’s sources of contamination will no longer endanger human health and the environment.”

“This settlement is a major step towards accomplishing a long-term remedy at this Superfund Site,” said Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley. “Our efforts with the federal government here will protect the people of Billerica and the environment from the hazardous substances located at this site. This settlement also sends a strong message to responsible parties that they must step up to the plate to clean up their messes, and taxpayers will not foot the bill.”

“This settlement requires the responsible parties to ensure that the remaining pollutants on-site are contained and no longer pose a threat to the public or the environment,” said Edward Kunce, Deputy Commissioner of the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection. “This next phase of cleanup work paves the way to allow previously unused, contaminated sections of the property to be put into productive use.”

Under the terms of the consent decree, the settling parties are required to implement the 2004 Record of Decision, which is the soil cleanup plan for the seven source areas. Specifically, the cleanup plan calls for the capping in place of contaminated soil for various source areas. The cleanup approach for the surface water, sediment, and groundwater contamination for the seven source areas will be addressed in a future Record of Decision.

The consent decree also contains the terms of a settlement for the liability of the Johns Manville Corp. Manville is not a settling party under the consent decree but had previously settled a bankruptcy suit with the United States resolving its liability for contamination at the site’s source areas. Under today’s consent decree, Manville will pay a percentage of the cost of cleaning up the seventh source area and $50,000 toward the cost of cleaning up the sixth source area. The payments will be made directly to BNZ Materials, Inc. and Boston and Maine Corp. to be used by those parties for performance of the cleanup at those two source areas.

The consent decree, lodged today in the District Court for Massachusetts, is subject to a 30-day public comment period and approval by the court and is available on the Justice Department Web site at