Home__________   Casmalia Settlement -Saves $100 Million



(San Francisco) -- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) new
cleanup strategy for the Casmalia Disposal site will save over $100 million
compared to its previous estimate, enabling the agency to make substantially
reduced settlement offers to over 800 potentially responsible parties. Parties
that receive these offers will be able to settle for 40-50% less than the
settlement offers they received earlier this year. These savings result from a
revised cleanup strategy for the site that dropped the estimated cleanup costs
by 32%.
"We took a hard look at our cleanup strategy and our settlement terms after
these parties raised some legitimate concerns. We now have settlement offers
that strike a better balance between EPA's responsibility to care for this site
and the parties' settlement needs. But these parties still must pay their
share of the cleanup costs," said Julie Anderson, director of U.S. EPA's western
regional Waste Management Division. "Up to now, all cleanup work at the site
has been paid for by the 54 parties which contributed the largest amounts of
waste, and EPA's Superfund Program."
EPA has lowered its cost estimate for Casmalia cleanup to $271.9 million,
down from $399 million. The savings result from a modified cleanup strategy
which maximizes near-term capital construction, thus reducing operation and
maintenance costs in the future.
In letters sent today to the over 800 potentially responsible parties, U.S.
EPA is offering two settlement options. In both options, the settlement amounts
are based on the amount of waste a party sent to the Casmalia Disposal Site.
Parties can choose to settle all of their liability at the site now, or can pay
less now and retain some liability into the future. Parties that settle all
their liability now will pay about 40% less than under the earlier settlement
offers. Parties that choose to retain some liability into the future can pay
50% less than the original offer.
For the largest party receiving a new settlement offer, this results in a
reduction in the payment amount from $493,026 to $317,933 if the party fully
settles its liability and $243,558 if it retains some liability. All the other
settlement amounts are smaller, with about half in the $10,000 to $100,000
range. Recipients will have until December 6 to accept the new offers.
Municipalities, which include cities and sanitation districts, may see
even further reductions in settlement amounts if they sent only municipal solid
waste or municipal sewage sludge to Casmalia. Instead of paying 11 cents per
pound to fully settle for the municipal solid waste and municipal sewage sludge
they sent to Casmalia, municipalities may be eligible to pay only $5.40 per ton
of such waste -- only 0.27 cents per pound.
The Casmalia Disposal Site, located near Santa Maria, California, operated
as a hazardous waste treatment, storage, and disposal facility in the 1970's and
1980's. The funds that the U.S. EPA collects from settling parties will pay
for the proper closure and long-term monitoring of the Casmalia Disposal Site.
For example, the settlements will pay for construction of landfill caps and
buttresses, ground water monitoring, site maintenance, and community involvement
Between 1992 and 1996, the U.S. EPA worked to stabilize conditions at the
Casmalia Disposal Site. In 1996, U.S. EPA negotiated a settlement with 54 waste
generators. These waste generators, called the Casmalia Steering Committee, are
now completing the construction of a cap for the landfill containing pesticides
and solvents, and are designing caps for other landfills at the site. These
future landfill caps will be paid for, in part, by funds from the more than 800
parties that will receive the new settlement offers within the next few days.
Later, U.S. EPA will notify many additional parties of their responsibility to
contribute to the cleanup effort at Casmalia.
During 16 years of operation between 1973 and 1989, the Casmalia Disposal
Site took in more than four billion pounds of waste. The facility's
owner/operators accepted a wide variety of industrial wastes including
pesticides, solvents, acids, metals, cyanide, non-liquid PCBs, and other
hazardous waste from about 10,000 different parties. In the early 1990s, the
facility's owner/operators abandoned efforts to properly close and clean up the
site. In addition to seeking funds from those parties that sent waste to the
Casmalia Disposal Site, the U.S. EPA is vigorously prosecuting its lawsuit
against the former owner/operators, namely, Kenneth H. Hunter, Jr., Casmalia
Resources, and Casmalia Disposal. For more information, members of the public
are invited to call the following toll-free number: 1-800-394-2670.

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