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Justice Opens 30-Day Public Comment Period on Proposed Settlement for Natural Resource Damages at Ciba-Geigy NPL site, Washington County, Alabama


07/30/2013


Ciba-Geigy McIntosh Plant site, near McIntosh, Washington County, AlabamaHistoric waste disposal practices at the Ciba-Geigy McIntosh Plant NPL site, in McIntosh, Alabama, shown here in a recent aerial view, released hazardous substances resulting in contamination of soils, surface waters, sediments and groundwater in the Tombigbee River floodplain and Mobile Bay watershed. Photo credit: Mobile Press-Register.


On July 30, 2013, U.S. Department of Justice opened a 30-day public comment period on a proposed settlement for natural resource damages with BASF Corp. arising from hazardous substances releases from the Ciba-Geigy Corp. McIntosh Plant site in McIntosh, Washington County in southwestern Alabama. The proposed settlement is embodied in a Consent Decree that was lodged with the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Alabama, Southern Division, on July 19, 2013.

The natural resource trustees involved in this case include:

  • State of Alabama, represented by Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources and Geological Survey of Alabama;
  • U.S. Department of Commerce, represented by National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration; and,
  • U.S. Department of the Interior, represented by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

The Ciba-Geigy McIntosh Plant site covers 1,500 acres, including Tombigbee River floodplain, in an industrial area northeast of McIntosh. Beginning in early 1950s, the plant manufactured DDT. In the 1970s, production expanded to include a variety of agricultural, industrial and consumer chemical products. Historic waste disposal practices at the plant resulted in the release of hazardous substances -- including DDT, DDE and DDD -- contaminating soils, surface waters, sediments and groundwater. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency placed the Ciba-Geigy McIntosh Plant site on the National Priorities List in 1983.

Under the proposed settlement in the lodged Consent Decree, BASF Corp., as successor in interest to Ciba Corp., will:

  • Pay $3.2 million for natural resource damages to be used for the planning, implementing and overviewing of natural resource restoration projects in the Mobile Bay watershed;
  • Pay $500,000 to Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources for ecosystem restoration in the Mobile Bay watershed through support of the Aquatic Biodiversity Center; and,
  • Pay $1.3 million to reimburse the federal natural resource trustees' past assessment costs, including $750,000 for U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service past costs.

The total monetary value of the proposed settlement is $5 million.

Written comments on the proposed Consent Decree must be received by U.S. Department of Justice's Environment and Natural Resources Division by Thursday, August 29, 2013.

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