Settlement Reached for Superfund Site Damages
Public can submit comments on the federal case related to 'A Civil Action' this month.
Decades after arsenic and other chemicals contaminated the city, a third settlement was reached last month.
Pharmacia Corporation and Bayer CropScience Inc. will pay $4.25 million to settle claims of natural resource damages in Woburn on the Industri-plex Superfund site, according to the federal Department of Justice.
The Industri-plex Superfund site is one of several Superfund clean-up sites in the city of Woburn, located where tanneries and chemical companies were once in business. (See timeline below.)
Industri-plex is near the Anderson Regional Transportation Center, along the Aberjona River and the Mystic River watershed, according to the Environmental Protection Agency.
Although the 'A Civil Action' case is most known in the city due to the effects that Superfund site (Wells G, H; Grace & Unifirst) had on some residents of Woburn, the Industri-plex Superfund site affected a large number of wildlife, including fish, turtles, amphibians, migratory birds (blue herons, black ducks and kingfishers) and the Aberjona River.
According to the Department of Justice, Pharmacia and Bayer CropScience Inc.'s predecessors on the Industri-plex site produced and disposed of chemicals on the site, contaminating the area.
Now, the two companies will pay for the restoration of the area's natural resources.
“This settlement will ensure that those responsible for damaging the environment will pay to replace the injured natural resources,” said Attorney General Martha Coakley. “Massachusetts rivers and wetlands deserve our rigorous protection and our environmental laws provide a remedy for harm to natural resources no matter how long ago the violations occurred.”
Two other settlements were reached in 1989 and 2008 with other defendants, but did not address the natural resources damage of the Aberjona River and the Mystic River watershed.
The public is welcome to comment to the federal Department of Justice on the Industri-plex Superfund site settlement until June 18. After that, comments are welcome at the state level for another 90 days.
Comments will be accepted at:
Assistant Attorney General, Environment and Natural Resources Division, P.O. Box 7611, U.S. Department of Justice, Washington, DC 20044-7611 and should be at the attention of United States v. Bayer CropScience Inc., D.J. Ref. 90-11-2-228/7.
Comments may also be submitted by email to email@example.com.
A copy of the comments should be sent to Donald G. Frankel, Senior Counsel, Environmental Enforcement Section, Department of Justice, Suite 616, One Gateway Center, Newton, MA 02458 (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Industri-plex Superfund Site Timeline
|1853||Woburn Chemical Works||Opens facility|
|1863||Merrimac Chemical Company||Woburn Chemical Works changes name|
|1858-1890||WCW and Merrimac||The companies produce sulfuric acid and related chemicals|
|1899-1915||Merrimac||Company becomes leading producer of arsenic insecticides in U.S.|
|1915||New England Manufacturing Company||Merrimac's subsidiary NEMC begins producing chemicals (phenol, benzene, picric acid, toluene, TNT)|
|1929||Monsanto||Merrimac is purchased and consolidated with Monsanto; operates until 1931.|
|1934||New England Chemical Company||Property formerly operated by Monsanto begins animal hide glue manufacturing.|
|1936||Consolidated Chemical Company||Purchases NECC.|
|1960s||Stauffer Chemical Company||Purchases CCC.|
|1969||Stauffer Chemical Company||Ceases glue manufacturing and vacates site.|
|1989||Rhone-Poulenc Basic Chemicals Company||Stauffer changes names several times and becomes Rhone-Poulenc.|
|1992||Rhone-Poulenc, Inc.||Consolidation of companies, name changed to Rhone-Poulenc, Inc.|
|2000||Pharmacia Corporation||Monsanto changes company name to Pharmacia.|
|Current||Bayer CropScience, Inc.||Rhone-Poulec undergoes several name changes and is now known as Bayer.|