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Wednesday
Aug152012

Polluters Agree to $56 Million in Cleanup Costs of Waste Disposal Site Near Galveston Bay, Texas

Over a dozen companies and several government agencies – who all used the Malone Services Superfund Site in Texas City, a former waste disposal site near Galveston Bay – have now reached a settlement agreement with the U.S. Justice Department and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to pay a combined total of $56.4 million in cleanup costs.

Image courtesy of ens-newswire.com.

Malone Services disposed of waste oil and waste chemicals between about 1964 and 1996. Since the beginning, companies and government agencies have sent about 481 million gallons of waste to the site.

The waste site contains contaminated oily sludge in above-ground storage tanks and a multi-acre earthen impoundment.

The agreement will require a group of 27 companies – including Exxon Mobile, BP, and Marathon Oil – to clean up the site, pay the EPA fines toward past and future costs, and reimburse the state of Texas for past costs.

In addition, the U.S. federal government and the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ), along with numerous other government agencies, will resolve their liability by “paying cash to the 27 companies,” said the Justice Department.

The United States, which shipped 1.62 percent of waste, will pay about $1.5 million. TCEQ, which shipped 0.00545 percent of the waste, will contribute $6,700, added the Justice Department.

The EPA has already completed four rounds of administrative settlements with about 320 relatively small contributors of waste, collecting about $8.4 million. The EPA says that it will give at least $4.5 million of these funds and other recovery funds to the group of 27 companies carrying out the cleanup.

The cleanup agreement requires the oily sludge to be solidified and placed into an on-site storage cell, along with any contaminated soil, says the Justice Department, adding that groundwater will be monitored to confirm that the remedial action is preventing offsite migration.

The federal and state natural resource trustees for the site are: the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the U.S. Department of the Interior, TCEQ, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, and the Texas General Land Office.

The parties that shipped waste to the site will pay the trustees a total of about $3.1 million to implement environmental restoration projects.

The trustees have “determined that the natural resources associated with the upland-woodlands habitat, freshwater-marsh habitat, and saltwater-marsh habitat were injured by contamination” requiring a restoration plan that will be open for public comment prior to commencement.

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