delware environmental institute

News Journal: New pollution study planned for 1980s-era toxic site

New federally supervised pollution investigations are planned at one of the state's oldest toxic cleanup sites, under an Environmental Protection Agency agreement with past owners of a chemical plant near Delaware City. EPA officials required the work as part of a settlement with Bayer CropScience L.P., current owner of the former Stauffer Chemical Co. plant. The site was added to the nation's national priorities list of Superfund sites in 1983, and has been under scrutiny and targeted for toxic pollution control work ever since.

Formosa Plastics continues to operate a polyvinyl chloride plant on part of the original property, but other areas remained with Stauffer, including earthen lagoons and pits where chemical sludge and off-grade plastics were dumped. Solvents and other chemicals from plant operations and the lagoons heavily contaminated groundwater in the area.

Formosa declined an offer to negotiate a similar agreement on its liability for and response to pollution spreading from its portion of the tract, an EPA official said. The agency had proposed the talks as an alternative to issuing an unilateral cleanup order or launching a federally funded cleanup and eventual financial recovery from the company.