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BOSTON – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Mass. Department of Environmental Protection reached a settlement with AVX Corp. for $366.25 million plus interest for the cleanup of the Superfund site in New Bedford Harbor, the largest single-site cash settlement in the history of the Superfund program.
The settlement, which followed an April 18 enforcement order issued by the EPA, will pave the way for expedited implementation of the cleanup of polychlorinated biphenyl-contaminated sediment in the harbor site.
According to the EPA, PCBs are mixtures of up to 209 synthetic chlorinated compounds, which attach onto sediment particles and are resistant to biodegradation. PCBs are considered a probable carcinogen in humans.
The $366.25 million “cash-out” settlement will be paid to the United States and Massachusetts jointly and will be retained by the EPA for use at the harbor site.
“With this settlement, we are making good on our pledge to the citizens of New Bedford to help clean their harbor,” Curt Spalding, the regional administrator of EPA’s New England Office, said in a statement. “Cleanup work will proceed much faster with dedicated funding, and we will more rapidly be able to ensure that both human health and ecological health are being protected from exposure to PCBs in New Bedford Harbor.”
The settlement, which resolves AVX’s remaining liabilities to pay for the costs of cleanup, will provide funding for continued action to remediate contamination, including dredging and properly disposing of PCB-contaminated sediment. •