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Portland & Bangor Superfund Waste Oil Site Obligations Resolved

TRC’s GFPR resolution of a Maine Superfund site achieved release for 2,000+ Potentially Responsible Parties.  

When operations of the waste oil facility ceased, and the owner declared bankruptcy, the community was left with a series of lagoons filled with oil and hazardous materials. The site was taken over by the state regulator under its Superfund Program; over 2,900 companies and individuals were identified as Potentially Responsible Parties (PRPs) for the site. Given the technical complexity and the significant number of PRPs, the site saw little progress for more than 20 years.

TRC structured a comprehensive solution that allowed the PRPs to obtain a full statutory release from the state and achieved full remediation of the site to regulatory approval. The participating PRPs—including the US Department of Defense—contributed sufficient funds to cover the cleanup costs, and this structure to resolve the cleanup liability was approved by both State and Federal agencies. This was the first reported privately structured liability resolution for a large group of PRPs. 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. 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:

•    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.

•    Provided a remedial liability resolution for a reliable cost. The guaranteed fixed-price remediation (GFPR) program made it possible for the PRPs to execute a consent decree with the State of Maine that provided them a full statutory release from all remedial liabilities at the site. The PRPs paid TRC a fee based on the amount of materials they sent to the site.

•    Expedited site cleanup. Progress in the site’s remediation was mired in allocation litigation.  TRC developed an approach with the PRPs and the state that streamlined the remedial design and planning process—allowing the cleanup to be completed within 2 years of the initiation of the GFPR program – and ended decades of costly litigation.

•    Generated community support. Throughout the cleanup, TRC 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.

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