EPA, Wisconsin and Two Paper Mills Sign Agreement for $60 Million Cleanup

Oct. 13, 2003
EPA Region 5 and the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (WDNR) have signed an agreement with WTM I (formerly Wisconsin Tissue) and P.H. Glatfelter Co. under which the companies will clean up PCB-contaminated sediment in the Little Lake Butte des Morts section of the Lower Fox River between Lake Winnebago and Appleton, Wisc.

"This consent decree requires the two paper mills to perform the cleanup work outlined in the January 2003 record of decision," said EPA Regional Administrator Tom Skinner. "It's a strong commitment by the mills and it bodes well for additional agreements that address the rest of the contamination."

In addition to performing the cleanup, the companies will be required to pay $3 million for natural resource damages and $1.05 million as partial reimbursement of costs incurred by EPA, WDNR and the U.S. Department of the Interior.

The Little Lake Butte des Morts cleanup plan calls for dredging an estimated 784,000 cubic yards of contaminated sediment. Water will be drained from the material, with the water then treated and returned to the river. The dried sediment will be transported to an engineered landfill for permanent disposal. Detailed engineering design work for the cleanup has already begun under an earlier agreement with WTM I.

EPA and WDNR have estimated the cost of the Little Lake Butte des Mort cleanup work at $61.7 million, plus $4.5 million for long-term monitoring. Savings may result from contributions and cooperation by local municipalities. WTM I and Glatfelter would pay for the work using a specially dedicated fund that would ultimately hold more than $60 million.

The fund would include $50 million from WTM I and Glatfelter, plus $10 million available under a prior settlement reached with Appleton Paper and NCR, plus interest earned on the money placed in the fund. Even if the fund is not sufficient to finance completion of the cleanup, the agreement reserves EPA's and WDNR's rights to require WTM I and Glatfelter to perform or pay for the continuation and completion of the work.

The agreement does not address cleanup work that will be required in the downstream portions of the river and Green Bay. EPA and WDNR are in ongoing discussions with the paper companies concerning that cleanup work.

Information on the Fox River cleanup can be found in public library reference sections in Appleton, Green Bay, Oneida, Oshkosh and Sturgeon Bay. Information is also online at www.epa.gov/region5/sites/foxriver.

About the Author

Sandy Smith

Sandy Smith is the former content director of EHS Today, and is currently the EHSQ content & community lead at Intelex Technologies Inc. She has written about occupational safety and health and environmental issues since 1990.

Sponsored Recommendations

Free Webinar: ISO 45001 – A Commitment to Occupational Health, Safety & Personal Wellness

May 30, 2024
Secure a safer and more productive workplace using proven Management Systems ISO 45001 and ISO 45003.

ISO 45003 – Psychological Health and Safety at Work

May 30, 2024
ISO 45003 offers a comprehensive framework to expand your existing occupational health and safety program, helping you mitigate psychosocial risks and promote overall employee...

DH Pace, national door and dock provider, reduces TRIR and claims with EHS solution

May 29, 2024
Find out how DH Pace moved from paper/email/excel to an EHS platform, changing their culture. They reduced TRIR from 4.8 to 1.46 and improved their ability to bid on and win contracts...

Case Study: Improve TRIR from 4+ to 1 with EHS Solution and Safety Training

May 29, 2024
Safety training and EHS solutions improve TRIR for Complete Mechanical Services, leading to increased business. Moving incidents, training, and other EHS procedures into the digital...

Voice your opinion!

To join the conversation, and become an exclusive member of EHS Today, create an account today!