Four companies will pay out nearly half a million dollars to the federal government for their role in contaminating a Westchester County neighborhood with thousands of pounds of toxic mercury.
As part of a consent decree settling a civil lawsuit filed Tuesday, Sept. 13, in federal court in White Plains, the four companies admitted to delivering mercury to Port Refinery, a mercury refining business in the Village of Rye Brook.
Port Refinery operated out of a two-story garage that was bordered by private homes on three sides, according to the US Attorney’s Office in the Southern District.
The company took “virtually no” environmental precautions or safety measures during its operations.
Federal prosecutors said the refinery’s treatment and processing of mercury-containing materials sent by the defendants and other parties led to “extensive releases” of mercury into the environment from the 1970s through the early 1990s.
The contamination resulted in two separate cleanup projects by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), which involved excavating and disposing of more than 9,300 tons of contaminated soil.
As part of the settlement, American Iron & Metal Co., Culp Industries, Paramount Global, and Public Service Company of New Hampshire agreed to a combined payment of $437,255 for costs incurred by the EPA.
“(The defendants) played a part in causing contamination in a residential community by arranging for the treatment or disposal of nearly 4,000 pounds of toxic mercury or mercury-containing materials, and now each is paying a share of the costs that EPA had to incur to clean up this site,” US Attorney Damian Williams said.
“This Office continues to pursue and hold responsible parties accountable for their share of the costs at the site.”
So far, the federal government has recouped more than $2.8 million in cleanup costs at the site through seven lawsuits against responsible parties.
Click here to follow Daily Voice White Plains and receive free news updates.