New York State Secures Nearly $5 Million From 77 Polluters - Including Major Corporations And Municipalities - For Contaminated Orange County Landfill Cleanup

New York, NY (May 17, 2007) – In one of the largest cost recoveries for hazardous contamination of a municipal landfill in New York State history, Attorney General Andrew M. Cuomo and Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Pete Grannis today announced that the state has obtained $4,987,595 from 77 major corporations and governments, municipalities and other entities that disposed of hazardous waste in the Orange County Landfill, a State Superfund site. The funds will be used for hazardous waste cleanup in other contaminated sites.

The payments are part of a settlement filed in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York. The 77 parties entering into the consent decree include major corporations, the federal government and other entities. A complete list of the defendants follows this release.

“My office will aggressively hold those dumping hazardous and toxic waste on New York soil accountable for their actions,” said Attorney General Cuomo. “This settlement requires the responsible parties to pay for the cleanup of their own mess. My office and the DEC will continue to balance our efforts to pursue polluters and to work with cooperative, responsible parties in order to protect New Yorkers’ health and the environment.”

The Orange County Landfill operated from 1974 to 1992, during which approximately 7 million cubic yards of industrial and household waste was disposed of at the landfill. The waste discharged hazardous pollutants into the environment, including toxic metals and volatile organic compounds such as benzene and toluene, which have been found to be hazardous to humans and wildlife. The DEC determined that the landfill presented a significant threat to both public health and the environment and listed the site on the state's Registry of Inactive Hazardous Waste Sites. Orange County, owner and operator of the landfill, entered into an agreement with DEC to investigate and clean up the landfill by capping the site and venting gases from the property.

The cleanup was completed in the late 1990s and the county continues to monitor the site for additional pollution impacts. Under the Environmental Quality Bond Act, New York State provided 75 percent of the funding to Orange County for the cleanup, which was partially reimbursed with today’s settlement. To recover these costs, the Attorney General’s Office and DEC tracked down and negotiated with the waste generators, private waste haulers and numerous municipalities that had disposed of waste at the landfill.

“DEC is committed to preserving our valuable natural resources and believes in holding polluters accountable for their actions,” said DEC Commissioner Pete Grannis. “Contaminated sites can pose a significant threat to our environment and public health. Cleaning up these sites helps to promote environmental conservation and revitalize local communities by improving the quality of life. The Department will continue to work with Attorney General’s office to pursue enforcement actions against those who violate environmental conservation laws.”

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