Novelis, previously known as the Alcan Aluminum Corporation, is the last of approximately 50 potential responsible parties to agree to reimburse the EPA for cleanup costs.
The Butler Mine Tunnel was constructed in the 1930s to drain deep mine workings from underground coal mines in a surrounding five-mile area. The flow from the mine tunnel discharges directly into the Susquehanna River. An oily discharge in the Susquehanna in 1979 was traced first to the mine tunnel and then to boreholes that originally were drilled into the mines to serve as air vents.
Novelis allegedly was one of several parties that contributed to the excess discharge. According to EPA, the company hired a contractor to dispose of hazardous industrial waste that was discharged directly into one of the boreholes that led to a network of deep underground mines. This waste eventually flowed into the Susquehanna.
Under the Superfund law, the landowners, waste generators and waste transporters responsible for the contamination of a Superfund site must either clean up the affected area or reimburse the government or other parties for cleanup activities.
Since 1987, when the Butler Mine Tunnel was added to the EPA’s Superfund list of the nation’s most contaminated sites, the EPA entered into several consent decrees that required responsible parties to perform remedial action and/or reimburse the EPA. Most of the remedial action was completed at the site in 2005.
Additional information on the Butler Mine Tunnel Site is available at http://www.epa.gov/reg3hwmd/super/sites/PAD980508451/index.htm.