P.H. Glatfelter Company has agreed to pay $20.5 million to reimburse past U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) costs to clean up PCBs in the Fox River.
Glatfelter is also agreeing to take on responsibility for long-term monitoring and maintenance activities required by EPA. Georgia-Pacific Consumer Products LP is joining this settlement and agreeing to minor adjustments to its commitments under prior settlements.
“EPA’s cleanup of the Fox River has significantly reduced PCB levels in upstream areas,” said EPA Region 5 Administrator Cathy Stepp.“This settlement will ensure the long-term success of the cleanup and will allow reuse and redevelopment of the area for the benefit of local residents.”
An enormous amount of cleanup and natural resource restoration work has already been done in Fox River and Green Bay under a set of partial settlements, an EPA administrative cleanup order, and court orders in a federal lawsuit brought by the United States and the State of Wisconsin.
The total cleanup costs for the Fox River site will exceed $1 billion. The cleanup work will reduce the risks to humans and wildlife posed by PCBs in bottom sediment of the Fox River and Green Bay, EPA said.
The cleanup remedy for the Fox River site was jointly-selected by EPA and the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. The remedy will remove much of the PCB-containing sediment from the Fox River by dredging. In other portions of the river, contaminated sediment is being contained in place with specially-engineered caps.
The dredging and capping will reduce PCB exposure and greatly diminish downstream migration of PCBs to Green Bay, according to EPA.