The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the U.S. Justice Department, and the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York yesterday announced that Chemtura Corporation has agreed to resolve its liabilities at contaminated sites across the U.S. for approximately $26 million. The agreement settles Chemtura’s environmental liabilities under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA, commonly known as Superfund), and for violations of the Clean Air Act (CAA), the Clean Water Act (CWA), and the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA).
Chemtura, based in Middlebury, Conn., is a global producer of specialty chemicals, polymer products, and crop protection chemicals, and a leading U.S. supplier of pool and spa chemicals. The company operates in more than 40 countries and its predecessors include Crompton & Knowles Corporation, Uniroyal Chemical Corporation, Witco Corporation, and Great Lakes Chemical Corporation.
Chemtura and 26 of its affiliates filed for protection under Chapter 11 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code on March 18, 2009 in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York. At the time of bankruptcy filing, the company was potentially responsible for cleanups at numerous Superfund sites, including remediation activities in the states of Alabama, California, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, South Carolina and Texas.
Chemtura will pay approximately $26 million in cash and allowed claims for 17 properties, 12 of which are on EPA’s list of the most serious hazardous waste sites requiring cleanup. Much of the money paid to the United States will be used by EPA to pay for future cleanup work; more than $8 million will be used to address environmental cleanup and restoration work at the Diamond Alkali Superfund Site in New Jersey. Chemtura will continue to honor its cleanup work obligations at the Laurel Park, Inc. Superfund Site in Naugatuck, Conn. The settlement agreement does not resolve Chemtura’s environmental liabilities arising out of the Gowanus Canal Superfund Site. Those liabilities, which are expressly excluded from the scope of today’s settlement, remain the subject of ongoing negotiation.
The settlement also resolves a claim for penalties under CERCLA, CAA, CWA and EPCRA due to violations stemming from a May 2004 fire at Chemtura’s Bio-Lab, Inc. facility in Conyers, Ga. The U.S. Treasury will receive approximately $785,000 for these penalties.
The settlement agreement will be lodged with the bankruptcy court for a period of fifteen days before its entry to provide public notice and to afford members of the public the opportunity to comment on the settlement.