Enforcement

Case Summary: Settlement Reached on cleanup and costs for Occidental Chemical Corp / Firestone Tire Superfund site

On January 5, 2012, the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania approved a settlement agreement between the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the current and former owners and operators of the Occidental Chemical Corp / Firestone Tire Superfund Site in Lower Pottsgrove Township, Penn.

Under the consent decree, the parties agreed to pay $2.1 million in past cleanup costs and assumed responsibility for all future cleanup costs at the site. The companies included Occidental Chemical Corporation (OxyChem), Bridgestone Americas Tire Operations and Glenn Springs Holdings, Inc.

On this page:

Information about the Companies
Information about the Occidental Chemical Corp / Firestone Tire Superfund Site
Pollutants and Environmental Effects
Overview of the Consent Decree
Contact Information

Information about the Companies

Occidental Chemical Corporation (OxyChem) is a leading North American manufacturer of polyvinyl chloride (PVC) resins, chlorine and caustic soda – key building blocks for a variety of products such as plastics, pharmaceuticals and water treatment chemicals. Based in Dallas, Texas, the company has manufacturing facilities in the U.S., Canada, Chile, and Brazil.

Glenn Springs Holdings, Inc. (GSHI), located in Ducktown, Tenn., is a wholly owned subsidiary of Occidental Chemical Corporation. GSHI was created in the early 1990s to manage property restoration for Occidental Petroleum and lands once held by other companies that were later acquired by Occidental.

Bridgestone Americas Tire Operations, LLC, a subsidiary of Bridgestone Americas, Inc. (BSAM), is part of a larger business unit also known as Bridgestone Americas Tire Operations (BATO). Reporting into this business unit are the company’s Latin American tire operations; the U.S. and Canadian consumer tire businesses; the U.S. and Canadian commercial tire businesses; and Bridgestone Retail Operations, LLC, which operates the largest network of company-owned automotive service providers in the world.

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Information about the Occidental Chemical Corp / Firestone Tire Superfund Site

OxyChem currently owns the site where it manufactured polyvinyl chloride (PVC) plastic resins from 1980 to 2005. OxyChem purchased the site from Firestone Tire & Rubber Company(now known as Bridgestone Americas Tire operations), which manufactured tires and PVC there from approximately 1945 to 1980. Settling defendant Glenn Springs Holdings, Inc., a corporate affiliate of OxyChem, is the current operator of the site. Glenn Springs assumed management of the site in 2005 after OxyChem closed its PVC-manufacturing facility.

From 1942 to 1985, operators used the Occidental Chemical Corp / Firestone Tire Superfund Site for disposal of industrial wastes including cutting oils, metal filings, tires, and polyvinyl chloride (PVC) sludge resins. Four consecutive owners disposed of industrial wastes at the approximately 250-acre site. Prior to World War II, this site was owned by Jacobs Aircraft Engine Company, which built engines. The Defense Plant Corporation (DPC) bought the site from Jacobs in 1942, however Jacobs continued to operate and manufacture aircraft engines for DPC until late 1944. In 1945, DPC leased the site to Firestone Tire and Rubber (FTR), which later purchased the site in 1950. FTR made tires and PVC resins at the site. In 1980, FTR sold the property to Occidental Chemical Corporation. Occidental continued to manufacture PVC resins at the site until 2005. In 1989, EPA placed the site on its Superfund list of the nation’s most contaminated sites to address unsafe levels of trichloroethylene (TCE), vinyl chloride, and other hazardous substances in the soil and groundwater. OxyChem, under EPA oversight, performed remedial action at the site and completed construction in 2008.  More information is available from the Occidental Chemical Corp / Firestone Tire Superfund Site web page.

Pollutants and Environmental Effects

The groundwater is contaminated with volatile organic compounds (VOCs), including TCE and vinyl chloride from former manufacturing activities. The groundwater is pumped continuously through the groundwater treatment system. Because of this, there is no movement of the contaminated groundwater from the site. The local drinking water supply is provided by a Pottstown municipal facility which depends on water from the Schuylkill River. Some residents across from the Schuylkill river depend on well water. The former earthen lagoons contained PVC sludge, and were primarily contaminated with TCE and vinyl chloride monomer.

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Overview of the Consent Decree

The parties have agreed to pay EPA $2,130,600.88 as payment for EPA’s past response costs at the site. Additionally, the parties agreed to pay all of the EPA’s future response costs at the site.

The Consent Decree does not affect any of the responsibilities which the parties have to implement the remedial action at the site pursuant to an order issued in 1994.

Contact Information

For more information contact:

Manuel Ronquillo
Attorney-Advisor
1200 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, D.C. 20460
202-564-6065
ronquillo.manuel@epa.gov

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