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EPA wins cash for Bucks County Superfund site

By 69 News, follow: @69news, news@wfmz.com
Published On: Feb 05 2014 06:43:50 PM CST
RICHLAND TWP., Pa. -

A Bucks County Superfund site will be getting an undisclosed amount of money for environmental clean-up in a settlement between the federal government and W.R. Grace & Co. of Columbia, Md.

The hazardous waste site in Richland Township is one of 39 locations in 21 states that are part of the payment by Grace, which totals more than $63 million.

The Richland Township site is one of three in Pennsylvania. The other two are in the western part of the state, in New Castle and Ellwood City.

The payment by Grace was announced Wednesday by the U.S. Department of Justice and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

The payment was part of Grace's bankruptcy plan of reorganization.

Grace, a global supplier of specialty chemicals, and 61 affiliated companies filed for bankruptcy in April 2001. In 2003, EPA filed claims against the company to recover past and future cleanup costs at sites contaminated by asbestos and other hazardous substances.

One of those affiliated companies was Watson Johnson LF, which apparently was responsible for the Bucks County site, according to information provided by the government.

Numerous agreements to resolve  EPA's environmental liability claims against the company and its affiliates were negotiated as part of the company’s bankruptcy proceedings between April 2008 and February 2013.

W.R. Grace’s payment includes about $54 million for the EPA. The company agreed to pay another $9 million to other federal agencies, including the U.S. Department of Interior and the U.S. Army.

“Communities across the United States will benefit from this payment of present and future cleanup costs,” said Robert G. Dreher, Acting Assistant Attorney General for the Environment and Natural Resources Division in a news release.

“The Justice Department is committed to holding polluters responsible for their environmental legacy, and won’t just walk away leaving taxpayers to pick up the tab.”

 “Cleaning up toxic pollution in communities is the responsibility of the company that created it, not the American taxpayer,” said Cynthia Giles, Assistant Administrator for EPA’s Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance.

“This money will be used to clean up contaminated sites and to make a tangible difference for local communities across the country.”