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Three Responsible For Release Of Mercury In Westchester Village Settle Case

White Plains Federal Court.
White Plains Federal Court. Photo Credit: File

Three companies have reached a settlement with the United States Attorney’s Office to clean up mercury at a Westchester County Superfund Site.

Robert Khuzami, an Attorney for the United States announced that they have reached an agreement with Columbia Gas Transmission LLC, Henry Schein, Inc., and Union Carbide Corporation, to recoup funds the EPA incurred for more than a decade in connection with its clean-up of mercury at the Port Refinery Superfund Site in Rye Brook.

As part of the agreement, the three companies have agreed to pay a combined $179,647.

According to the U.S. Attorney, each of the three companies arranged for the sale and transport of used or scrap mercury, or mercury-containing products, directly or indirectly to Port Refinery, Inc, which was a mercury refining business out of a Rye Brook residence.

Port Refinery’s treatment and processing of the scrap mercury sent by the companies and other parties led to extensive releases of mercury in the area, requiring two separate clean-up actions by the EPA.

During the second clean-up, which began in 2004, the EPA incurred costs at the site for a variety of investigative and clean-up activities, including the excavation and disposing of more than 9,300 tons of mercury-contaminated soil from the site.

As part of the agreement, $120,198 to be paid by UCC, $54,845 to be paid by Columbia, and $4,604 to be paid by Schein.

“Polluters must pay for the costs they have imposed on the community,” Khuzami said. “Each of these defendants arranged for the treatment or disposal of toxic mercury and contributed to significant contamination in a residential community.  Each is now paying a share of the costs.”

Regional Administrator Peter Lopez added, “it is crucial for companies to take all necessary steps to limit people’s potential exposure to mercury. Exposure to mercury can harm the heart, kidneys, lungs, immune system and have other health impacts. EPA completed a successful cleanup in Rye Brook, held the parties accountable and continues to remain vigilant to ensure that the public is protected from unsafe releases of mercury.”

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