CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (Legal Newsline) – OXY USA Inc., a subsidiary of Occidental Petroleum Co., will work to clean up a contaminated water site at the Ocoee River in Tennessee, The Department of Justice and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced.
“This settlement is the product of excellent cooperation between private parties, and the state and federal government to find a long-term solution to cleaning up the contamination at the Copper Basin site,” Assistant Attorney General John Cruden of the Justice Department’s Environment and Natural Resources Division said. “This agreement will yield lasting benefits for water quality in this Ocoee River watershed.”
As part of the agreement reached between the department and OXY, OXY will pay an estimated $40 million to maintain and operate a water treatment system. It will also reimburse the EPA almost $10.8 million. These funds come as a result of costs incurred for past cleanup actions at the site.
“This settlement marks a significant turning point in the remediation and restoration of an area that has borne the brunt of contamination from industrialized operations for over a century,” Regional Administrator Heather McTeer Toney of EPA’s Southeast Region said. “The provisions incorporated by these consent decrees exemplifies the hard work by multiple federal agencies, the state of Tennessee, Tennessee Valley Authority and OXY USA to ensure the remediation and recovery of the Ocoee River and the North Potato Creek and Davis Mill Creek Watersheds continues well into the future.”
Because of this settlement and previous work performed at the site, $217 million has now been devoted to cleaning up the water contamination.