ENR (202) 514-2008 TDD (202) 514-1888

U.S. ANNOUNCES SUPERFUND SETTLEMENT $60 MILLION CLEANUP AND REMEDY FOR RADIOACTIVE KENTUCKY LANDFILL WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The Department of Justice and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced today a settlement to clean up and to prevent further pollution at a heavily contaminated radioactive landfill in Fleming County, Kentucky, located midway between Lexington and Huntington, West Virginia. The agreement, with nearly 400 private and government parties, is estimated at $60 million. Approximately 4.75 million cubic feet of low-level radioactive waste is buried at the Maxey Flats landfill, which operated from 1963 to 1977. The waste was generated and shipped to the site by more than 600 individuals, federal and state agencies, universities, and private companies. During this period, water seeped into the burial trenches. Kentucky, the landfill's owner, closed the site in 1977 after studies showed that radioactive water had leaked from the trenches to other areas of the site. As an interim measure, from 1973 through 1986, Kentucky pumped out some 6 million gallons of low-level radioactive water, storing left over concentrates in above-ground tanks. The EPA removed these concentrates in 1989, solidified and reburied them. "Today's agreement ensures permanent protection for Kentuckians from the radioactive waste at Maxey Flats," said Lois J. Schiffer, Assistant Attorney General in charge of the Department's Environment and Natural Resources Division. "An extraordinary union of federal, state and private parties has made this possible." The consent decrees, filed today in U.S. District Court in Covington, resolve the United States' claims for cleanup of the site under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act, commonly called Superfund. All settling parties sent radioactive waste to the landfill for burial. -MOREUnder one decree, 43 companies will remove approximately 3 million remaining gallons of water from waste burial trenches and install an interim cap. This cap will prevent more water from accumulating. Six federal agencies will pay for a majority of this work, estimated to cost $45 million by the Environmental Protection Agency. The federal agencies are the Army, Air Force, Department of Energy, Navy, NASA, and the National Institutes of Health.

The Commonwealth of Kentucky is acquiring adjacent properties to create a buffer zone for the site. Kentucky will also maintain the interim cap and eventually build a final cap to prevent water from entering the trenches permanently. The EPA will oversee the cleanup and maintenance work. The private parties and federal agencies agreed to pay $5 million of EPA's past response costs. In a second consent decree, state, federal, and private parties agreed to pay $8.5 million toward the cleanup and for past response costs. ### 95-373