March 25, 2002
Volume 80, Number 12
CENEAR 80 12 p. 9
ISSN 0009-2347
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Agreement with EPA could lead to more PCB actions in Alabama town


Solutia has signed a consent order with EPA to develop a plan to clean up polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB) contamination stemming from a former Monsanto manufacturing site in Anniston, Ala.

According to an EPA spokesman, official announcement of the agreement is just days away, awaiting only court approval. After a 30-day comment period, the order would become final and then Solutia would undertake what is formally known as a Remedial Investigation & Feasibility Study.

Solutia has already undertaken several cleanups in Anniston. Last October, for instance, Solutia signed a consent agreement with EPA to remove contaminated soil at 23 properties near the factory where Monsanto had for decades manufactured the once widely used electrical transformer insulation fluids. Production ceased in 1971, and Solutia--spun out of Monsanto in 1997--inherited the site along with its liabilities.

Solutia's cleanup of the 23 sites--where PCB concentrations in the soil equaled or exceeded 10 ppm--got under way earlier this month. The new survey to which Solutia has committed itself could lead to an even more extensive cleanup. However, it is likely to take up to two years, says the EPA spokesman. Only then would EPA prepare a remediation plan based on the survey, the cost of which would fall to Solutia.

Meanwhile, talks to settle a PCB contamination lawsuit seeking property and personal injury damages from Solutia came to a halt in an Alabama state court (C&EN, March 4, page 12). Company lawyers had complained to the Alabama Supreme Court that State Circuit Court Judge R. Joel Laird Jr. was unfairly pressuring them to settle. Laird then skewered the defense attorneys for making false statements.

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