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

PARTIES AGREE TO $3.5 MILLION LONG ISLAND SUPERFUND CLEANUP FUTURE SETTLEMENTS COULD BE THREATENED BY BILL IN CONGRESS WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Seventeen corporations have agreed to clean up a Long Island Superfund site and help end a potential threat to local water supplies and private water wells, the United States government announced today. But, a government official warned that future settlements may be impossible in the face of pending legislation in Congress. Today's agreement, lodged in federal court in New York, requires Commander Oil Corporation and 16 others to pay for and to complete an estimated $3.5 million cleanup of the Pasley Superfund Site in Hempstead, New York. The settlement, in the form of a consent decree, resolves the government's claim of liability under the Superfund statute against the parties without the need for any litigation. The government's allegations were contained in a complaint filed today as well. The complaint alleges that the parties shipped hazardous materials, including chemicals and solvents, to be stored at the site. The hazardous materials have caused soil and groundwater contamination, posing a potential contamination threat to drinking water sources of seven Nassau County water districts and 129 private drinking wells. Commander Oil, owner of the site, will perform the cleanup and reimburse the United States for $750,000 in past response costs. The cleanup will combine two innovative technologies -"air sparging" and "soil vacuuming." Air will be injected into portions of the contaminated soil and groundwater, allowing hazardous materials to be sucked out by highpowered vacuums. A long-term monitoring program will be put in place to track any migration of contaminants and to monitor the soil and groundwater. The remaining defendants will pay $1.85 million toward the cost of the cleanup. "This agreement is good news for everyone involved -- the people of Nassau County, the defendants and the United States," said Lois J. Schiffer, Assistant Attorney General in charge of the Department's Environment and Natural Resources Division. "With the cleanup of this site, a threat to Long Islanders has been checked. We will achieve this through sound, innovative technologies at a lower cost to the defendants in this case. In addition, the settlement will achieve cleanup of the site without the need for litigation and the drain of additional private and federal resources to achieve cleanup through litigation."

"I am concerned, however, that settlements like this one will be a thing of the past if legislative Superfund reform proposals are to be enacted by Congress," added Schiffer. "Those proposals will make it much more difficult for the Justice Department to negotiate settlements in Superfund cases, and will bankrupt the Superfund program with paybacks to polluters." "I am proud of this settlement and of the modified cleanup plan it will help fund. The new cleanup plan will achieve the same levels of groundwater cleanup as would have been achieved with the more conventional technology but at a substantially lower price," said Jeanne M. Fox, EPA Region 2 Administrator. "This change demonstrates EPA's commitment to finding effective, common sense solutions to environmental problems." The original cleanup plan, devised three years ago, was estimated to cost $9.37 million. However, since that time, EPA's technical staff has been cooperating with the parties to find a less expensive solution based upon recent innovative technology. The government's complaint alleges that from 1969 until 1982, Pasley Solvents and Chemicals operated a chemical distribution facility on site. Chemicals and other hazardous materials were allegedly shipped there and stored in large surface tanks. The chemicals were then allegedly moved into 55-gallon drums for distribution to customers. The Nassau County Health Department first detected soil contamination in 1981. The site was placed on the Superfund priority list in 1986. Commander Oil removed the above ground storage tanks in 1988. ### 95-564