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Honeywell, International Paper To Clean Up Contaminated Soil At Riegelwood Plant

By Rachel Lipman, posted Apr 19, 2019

Honeywell International Inc., and International Paper Co. will clean up contaminated soils and sediments at the LCP-Holtrachem plant in Riegelwood, according to a settlement with the U.S. Justice Department and Environmental Protection Agency announced Thursday.

The LCP-Holtrachem site is 24 acres adjacent to the Cape Fear River at 636 John Riegel Road in Columbus County.

From 1963 to 2000, the LCP-Holtrachem plant made chemicals such as sodium hydroxide, liquid chlorine, hydrogen gas, liquid bleach and hydrochloric acid using a mercury cell process.

The two companies are liable for historic industrial discharges of metals, including mercury, and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) at the site, according to the settlement.

“This settlement incisively corrects historic environmental issues impinging on the Cape Fear River,” said Assistant Attorney General Jeffrey Bossert Clark of the Department of Justice’s Environment and Natural Resources Division.

Under the proposed settlement, the companies will address contaminated soils and sediments through a combination of in-situ treatment, on-site storage and off-site treatment and disposal.  The two companies will also reimburse the United States for all past and future costs associated with the cleanup.

In exchange, the two companies will receive a covenant not to sue and protection from suit by third parties.

The two companies previously performed investigations and preliminary cleanup work under prior agreements with the EPA.

“The environmental benefits that will result from today’s settlement are a win for the communities near this Superfund site,” said EPA Acting Regional Administrator Mary S.  Walker.  “This agreement demonstrates EPA’s commitment to hold companies responsible for contamination they caused.”

The consent decree is subject to a 30-day public comment period and final approval by the court.

Honeywell International stock closed at $169.06 Thursday, up 3.8 percent from Wednesday’s close, while International Paper stock closed at $44.43 Thursday, up 1.1 percent from Wednesday’s close.

This story is from the North Carolina Business News Wire, a service of the UNC-Chapel Hill School of Media and Journalism.

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