Trustees Settle Natural Resource Damage Claims Arising from Hazardous Substances Releases at Ciba-Geigy NPL site, Washington County, Alabama

Last edited 09/03/2020


Historic 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 October 2, 2013, the federal and State natural resource trustees settled natural resource damage claims with BASF Corp. arising from hazardous substances releases from the Ciba-Geigy Corporation’s McIntosh Plant site in McIntosh, Washington County, in southwestern Alabama. The proposed settlement is embodied in a Consent Decree that was entered by the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Alabama, Southern Division.

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 the pesticide 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 final settlement for natural resource damages in the entered 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 settlement is $5 million.

As a next step, the trustees will develop a draft restoration plan with proposed natural resource restoration projects to be implemented with the settlement funds. This draft restoration Plan will be made available for public review and comment.

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