EPA, Pilkington Enter Another Agreement Regarding Illinois Site

June 17th, 2016 by Editor

Pilkington North America and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) are still working to eliminate potential environmental hazards stemming from past operations at an Illinois plant before Pilkington purchased it, according to court documents. The EPA and Pilkington have been working together since 2001 to address the concerns.

In 2001, Pilkington agreed to conduct a remedial investigation regarding the alleged release of hazardous substances at its Ottawa township flat glass facility in LaSalle County, Ill., that may have harmed natural resources. The study didn’t involve Pilkington’s plant operations but those under Libbey-Owens-Ford, which used arsenic in its glass manufacturing from the early 1900s to about 1970. Pilkington acquired the plant in 1986 and became liable for any environmental hazards at the site.

According to information published by the EPA in March 2015, Pilkington “safely and successfully cleaned up two highly-impacted residential lots in 2004 and cleaned the interiors of these same homes shortly thereafter.” In 2008, the company “safely and successfully removed additional soil from the residential areas to bring down composite arsenic levels to be consistent with those found on the rest of the lots in Naplate.” This absolved the issues in those areas, and the sides then agreed to address the groundwater south of the Illinois River.

Pilkington completed its remedial investigation of that area in August 2008 and a feasibility study in June 2009, per agreements with the EPA. In February 2012, EPA and Pilkington agreed on a settlement and an order on consent for remedial design, which required Pilkington “to produce a detailed set of plans and specifications for implementation” of remedial action.

Late last month, the sides entered into a consent decree to resolve a corresponding complaint filed by the U.S. which seeks reimbursement of costs incurred by the EPA and the Department of Justice (DOJ) for “response actions” at the site, accrued interest and “performance of response actions by Pilkington consistent with a contingency plan the parties established.”

In the consent decree, Pilkington notes it “does not admit any liability to Plaintiff arising out of the transactions or occurrences alleged in the Complaint, nor does [Pilkington] acknowledge that the release or threatened release of hazardous substances at or from the Site constitutes an imminent and substantial endangerment to the public health or welfare or the environment.”

The EPA says it believes the contingency plan will be “properly and promptly conducted by [Pilkington].” According to court documents, the consent decree “has been negotiated by the Parties in good faith and implementation of this Decree will expedite the cleanup of the Site and will avoid prolonged and complicated litigation between the Parties, and that this Decree is fair, reasonable, and in the public interest.”

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