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EPA announces $29M settlement for cleanup work at Brunswick site

Agreement reached to clean up 760-acre saltwater marsh

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WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Justice and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced Friday that Honeywell International Inc. and Georgia Power Co. have agreed to clean up the 760-acre saltwater marsh at the LCP Chemicals Superfund site in Brunswick, Georgia.

The settlement requires the companies to spend an estimated $28.6 million to remove and isolate contaminated sediments in the marsh and to monitor the long-term effectiveness of the work.

"We appreciate that these companies have stepped forward to remedy the contamination to which they and others have contributed," said Assistant Attorney General John C. Cruden, of the Justice Department’s Environment and Natural Resources Division. "This settlement makes critical progress toward the remediation of the LCP Chemicals Superfund site and will minimize risks to people and the environment posed by contamination in the marsh."

Between 1919 and 1994, the LCP Chemicals site hosted a petroleum refinery, an electric power generation facility and various manufacturing operations, including a mercury cell chlor-alkali plant. These industrial activities led to widespread contamination of the site’s soil, groundwater, surface water and sediment with mercury, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and other hazardous substances. The site was placed on the federal Superfund list in 1996.

"Back in the 1990s, this U.S. Attorney’s Office secured criminal convictions against six officers and employees of LCP Chemicals-Georgia Inc. who were responsible for dumping mercury and other hazardous chemicals into the waters of the United States," said Edward J. Tarver, the U.S. attorney for the Southern District of Georgia. "The combined sentences totaled over 21 years in prison. The cleanup of this Superfund site is now in its third decade. I am pleased that Honeywell and Georgia Power have stepped forward to continue cleanup as we work towards fixing the environmental mess caused by other companies’ greed many years ago."

The cleanup work required by the settlement includes dredging and installing protective caps on portions of four tidal creeks, placing a layer of clean sediment on eleven acres of marsh and restoring areas disturbed by construction.

The work is expected to reduce concentrations of mercury, PCBs, lead and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in the marsh’s sediments.

"EPA is very pleased to reach a settlement ensuring funding for future cleanup costs to address the contamination of the site’s tidal marsh and creeks," said Heather McTeer Toney, the administrator of the EPA’s Southeast Region. "We are looking forward to ensuring that cleanup work at this site continues."

Officials said capping the contaminants in place will prevent them from moving throughout the marsh and contaminating its animal life.