Bryan Cohen Sep. 19, 2013, 6:30pm

BOSTON (Legal Newsline) -- Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley this week announced a $366.25 million settlement with AVX Corporation, hastening the cleanup of polychlorinated biphenyl contamination from the New Bedford Harbor.

The settlement, which was decided upon by the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts Wednesday, will allow cleanup goals to be achieved within five to seven years.

Under current funding levels the cleanup goals might have taken 40 years to achieve.

"We are pleased that the federal court has accepted this important settlement to fund and accelerate a proper environmental cleanup of New Bedford Harbor," Coakley said in a statement Wednesday. "This decision is an important step for the economic development of the harbor, and will help realize significant public health benefits for the community."

Between 1938 and 1973, the Aerovox Corporation operated a manufacturing facility along the Acushnet River. The Acushnet River estuary flows into the New Bedford Harbor. The facility used PCBs in the manufacturing process for electrical equipment. PCBs are suspected carcinogens with other adverse health and ecological effects.

AVX is a corporate successor to Aerovox Corporation.

The cash-out agreement with AVX, a total of $366.25 million plus interest, will be paid to the U.S. and the state to provide more than 90 percent of estimated funding to finish the PCB cleanup at the New Bedford Harbor Superfund site.

Cleanup includes dredging and disposing of PCB sediments at confined aquatic facilities on the harbor floor, confined disposal facilities on-site and at off-site facilities.

The settlement with AVX modified a joint consent decree entered with AVX in 1992. In that agreement, AVX paid $66 million plus interest for response costs and natural resource damages at the site.

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