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Portland Bangor Waste Oil Site - A Resolution of State Superfund Obligations

January 1, 2019

When operations at this waste oil facility ceased and the owner declared bankruptcy, the community was left with an abandoned operation that included a series of lagoons filled with oil and hazardous materials. The site was subsequently taken over by the State regulator under its Superfund Program and over 2,900 companies and individuals were identified as Potentially Responsible Parties (PRPs) for the site. However, given the technical intricacy and the significant number of PRPs, the site saw little cleanup progress for more than 20 years.

TRC structured a solution under which the required remediation advanced efficiently and, upon completion of the remediation, the PRPs were granted a full statutory release by both State and Federal agencies with jurisdiction.. In just over one year, TRC removed the lagoons, remediated contaminated soil and groundwater, and constructed a permanent public water supply line in the affected area. Completion of the remediation was approved by the regulatory agency with jurisdiction , and the remediated area has since been donated to a non-profit for permanent open space use.

Working with TRC, the PRPs were able to resolve their remedial obligations for a price that was lower than estimated by the government and received a release of their remedial liabilities while truncating the continuing effort in litigation and compliance negotiations.

Benefits included:

  • Completed remediation. Provided a remedial liability resolution for a reliable cost. TRC’s approach program made it possible for the remediation to be completed expeditiously. With the work completed the PRPs were able to secure a full statutory release from the regulatory agency with jurisdiction for all remedial liabilities at the site. The PRPs contribution towards the cleanup was calculated based on the amount of materials they sent to the site.
  • Expedited site cleanup. Prior to TRC’s efforts, progress in the site’s remediation was mired in allocation litigation amongst the PRPs. TRC developed an approach with the PRPs and the State regulator that streamlined the remedial design and planning process—allowing the cleanup to be completed within 2 years of the initiation of TRC’s on-site work – and ended decades of costly litigation.
  • Generated community support. Throughout the cleanup, TRC kept the community informed and actively solicited public comment—particularly during the remedy design. TRC provided monthly updates and site visits for community stakeholders and produced online video updates to ensure the community’s needs were continuously addressed.
  • Saved PRPs millions in costs. An independent study by the Federal government found that the TRC solution was 25 – 33% lower than the government’s own estimate.


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Awards & Recognition
Recognized in the Wall Street Journal as a “radical experiment” to successfully end the “tangle of litigation around U.S. Superfund law.”

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