Settlements Bring Funds for Old Southington Landfill Cleanup

Two settlements were recently entered into federal court that will provide the funding to perform ongoing groundwater remediation at the Old Southington Landfill Superfund Site in Southington, Conn., according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The settlement was agreed to by EPA, the U.S. Department of Justice, the state of Connecticut and numerous settling parties.

The agreements are formalized in two consent decrees that were entered at the Federal District Court for the District of Connecticut on Nov. 23. Together, the two consent decrees call for cleanup work to proceed as described in EPA's Sept. 2006 Record of Decision for the site and establishes funding responsibilities among potentially responsible parties.

The settlement calls Southington, Conn., GenCorp Inc., Kraft Foods, Shell Oil Company, United Technologies Corporation (which have the largest volume contributions to the site) to pay a lump sum of $500,000 to cover EPA's future oversight costs, $537,000 to the U.S. Department of the Interior for federal natural resource damages and $2,750,000 to Connecticut for damages to natural resources under the state's trusteeship.

The parties must to complete the cleanup remedy, which includes:

  • establishing environmental land use restrictions on properties or portions of properties where groundwater contamination concentrations exceed Connecticut remediation standard regulations;
  • building ventilation systems, sub-slab depressurization systems, or similar technology, in buildings located over properties or portions of properties where groundwater contamination exceeds the state criteria;
  • conducting groundwater monitoring in areas where the potential for vapor intrusion is a concern;
  • performing operation and maintenance and monitoring of engineering and institutional controls to ensure remedial measures are performing as intended and continue to protect human health and the environment in the long-term; and
  • conducting five-year reviews to ensure that health protection measures continue to be effective.
The second consent decree provides for 86 parties who contributed smaller amounts of waste to the site to pay $4,248,450. Their payments will be deposited into a trust account that is being managed by the five performing parties. A portion of these funds will be used to make the payments to help finance state and federal natural resource damages. The remaining funds will remain in the trust to provide financial assurance for the completion of the remedy under the first consent decree.

The Old Southington Landfill Superfund Site is an approximately 12-acre former municipal landfill in Southington. The site was a municipal landfill in use from approximately 1920 until 1967. Different portions of the landfill were used for disposal of municipal, commercial and industrial waste materials, as well as wood and construction debris. After being closed and covered to a depth of 2 feet, between 1973 and 1980 portions of the landfill property were subdivided and developed into residential, commercial, and industrial properties. EPA placed the site on the National Priorities List in September 1984.

In 1994, EPA issued the first record of decision for the Old Southington Landfill, which required the relocation of residences and businesses on the landfill and construction of a cap incorporating a soil gas collection system. The decision also required that additional groundwater investigation be undertaken to more fully assess the contamination from the landfill. Construction of a cap over both the northern and southern portions of the landfill was completed in 2001.

The cleanup actions to cap the landfill were performed under the terms of three consent decrees finalized in 1998 and 1999, but these did not address the groundwater contamination.

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