EPA reaches $11M settlement with Pridco over contamination
The Environmental Protection Agency has announced that it reached a settlement with the Puerto Rico Industrial Development Co. (Pridco) for the reimbursement of $11 million in costs it incurred in cleaning up contamination at the Maunabo Groundwater Superfund Site.
The site is located in the southeastern coast of Puerto Rico, where according to the EPA the groundwater is contaminated with “various types of volatile organic compounds (VOCs), including tetrachloroethene (PCE), trichloroethene (TCE), and cis-1,2-dichloroethene (cis-1,2-DCE).”
The settlement reimburses EPA for its work in “assessing the contamination, designing the remedy and cleaning up the groundwater contamination,” the agency said. Under the terms of the settlement, Pridco will pay the total over seven years to cover all of the agency’s response costs and interest and will ensure “that the drinking water in the affected communities is safe for residents.”
The site includes four wells that provide drinking water to the Maunabo Urbano public water system, which the agency said is currently getting its drinking water from safe sources.
EPA Regional Administrator Lisa F. García said the settlement holds the government-owned corporation accountable, “not the taxpayer,” for the cleanup of contamination at its industrial park “and protects the Maunabo community.”
The agency recounted the events leading to the settlement as follows: “In September 2015, PRIDCO declined to participate in settlement discussions, leading the United States Department of Justice (DOJ) to file a civil lawsuit in a federal District Court in Puerto Rico to recover EPA’s costs for cleaning up the site. The DOJ argued that PRIDCO, as the owner of the industrial park, was legally responsible for the contaminated groundwater, and the court agreed….”
“PRIDCO appealed the decision to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit, which upheld the District Court’s ruling. The settlement resolves PRIDCO’s current financial obligations for the site as a result of the lawsuit,” the agency stated.
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