Defense Contractor to Pay $1 Million for Groundwater Contamination

Textron Systems Corp. agreed to pay $1 million in a natural resource damages (NRD) settlement over groundwater contamination caused by weapons testing, Massachusetts officials announced on Oct. 1.

A consent decree, which was filed jointly with the U.S. Department of Justice, also addresses and resolves related federal claims. NRD is a category of legal damages defined by various state and federal statutes as compensation for injury to, destruction of, or loss of natural resources, including the reasonable costs of a damage assessment.

This settlement covers Textron's share of the cost of restoring injured resources to their baseline condition, compensation for the interim loss of damaged resources and the cost of conducting damage assessment.

From 1968 to 1999, Textron or its predecessors, under contracts with the U.S. Department of Defense, conducted munitions testing in the area of J-3 Range at Massachusetts Military Reservation (MMR). MMR is a 20,000-acre area of Upper Cape Cod that includes the Massachusetts Air and Army National Guard, and U.S. Coast Guard command centers. J-3 Range lies above several wellhead protection areas that supply drinking water for approximately 147,772 permanent and 424,445 peak seasonal residents of Cape Cod.

The state claims that Textron's development and explosive testing of tactical weapons systems for the U.S. Army and Air Force contaminated the groundwater with perchlorate, an inorganic chemical that is highly mobile in water and can persist for years under typical conditions. In agreeing to the settlement, TSC does not admit liability for these activities.

"(This) settlement represents an important step toward funding the restoration of natural resources on Cape Cod, including public drinking water resources that have been damaged at MMR," said state Attorney General Martha Coakley. "While MMR serves as an important military training facility for our national defense, the environmental impacts from those activities must be adequately restored to protect the health and welfare of Cape Cod citizens. We are pleased that Textron Systems Corp. has agreed to resolve these claims and fund the restoration of natural resources."

For more information, contact the state Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs at http://www.mass.gov/envir.

comments powered by Disqus