Frequent asbestos defendant settles with Massachusetts

Keith Loria Feb. 15, 2011, 3:42am


BOSTON (Legal Newsline) - Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley announced on Tuesday that her office reached a settlement with a chemical company that was allegedly responsible for contaminating nine sites in the state.

W.R. Grace will pay MassDEP more than $800,000, plus accrued interest, for its environmental liability at the nine sites.

The company allegedly contaminated the former Zonolite Plant site in Easthampton, the Daramic Plant site in Acton, the Cambridge Plant site in Cambridge, the Knox Trail site in Acton and Concord, a pipeline site adjacent to the Massachusetts Military Reservation site in Sandwich, the Acton Superfund site in Acton and Concord, the Wells G&H Superfund site in Woburn, the Blackburn & Union Privileges Superfund site in Walpole, and the Sutton Brook Superfund site in Tewksbury.

Under terms of the agreement, Grace is responsible for all cleanup costs at these sites. The company must also pay any future cleanup costs and perform cleanup work at several of the Superfund sites.

"W.R. Grace has the means to pay its environmental liability to the commonwealth and perform cleanup actions at its contaminated properties," Coakley said. "We are gratified that the bankruptcy court agreed it would be wrong to allow Grace to walk away from its responsibilities."

Bankruptcy proceedings for the company began in 2001, largely due to asbestos-related personal-injury lawsuits filed against it. Cleanup at many of the sites has already been completed.

All cleanup of the Superfund sites must be performed under a federal law known as CERCLA, which requires the parties responsible for the contamination to perform the cleanup under the oversight of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and MassDEP.

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