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Environmental Enforcement: Jeld-Wen to Pay $700,000 for Cleanup

Door and window manufacturer Jeld-Wen Inc. will pay the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency $700,000 for costs incurred by the agency during remediation of one of the company’s former lumberyards.

The U.S. District Court for the District of Oregon approved the settlement agreement between Oregon-based Jeld-Wen and the United States as recompense for money spent during the cleanup of the contaminated Circle DE Lumber site in Klamath Falls, Ore.

In addition to costs recovered under the agreement, the EPA has also recouped nearly $208,000 in an administrative settlement with the current owner of the site, Daniel Brown.

The Circle DE Lumber site is a three-acre former lumber mill and wood treatment facility. Operations at the site included treating milled lumber in a 1,000-gallon dip tank that contained a solution of diesel oil and pentachlorophenol, or PCP. Use of the dip tank resulted in the release of high concentrations of PCP, dioxin, and petroleum hydrocarbons to soils around the tank.

In 2005, Oregon’s Department of Environmental Quality requested EPA assistance to clean up the site. Between October 2005 and February 2006, the EPA cleaned up the property by removing the old dip tank and excavating and disposing of more than 500 tons of soil contaminated with PCP, dioxin, and petroleum hydrocarbons.

After completing the cleanup, the EPA sought cost recovery from current owner Brown and Jeld-Wen, who owned and operated the yard between 1971 and 1973.

The EPA quickly settled with Brown, but was unable to negotiate a settlement with Jeld-Wen. In April 2010, the U.S. Department of Justice filed suit against Jeld-Wen seeking full recovery of the government’s costs.

The total costs for cleanup and enforcement stand at around $1.05 million. The remaining $142,000 in unrecovered costs will likely come from federal Superfund accounts – money made available to remediate badly polluted areas – an EPA attorney told local newspaper The Oregonian.

In March, the EPA added ten Superfund sites to the National Priorities List. These included former army barracks site North Ridge Estates, which lies just to the north of Klamath Falls, Ore. The ten new sites took the number of Superfund sites to 1,290.

More information on the Circle DE Lumber site and its cleanup can be found here.

Picture credit: Jesse Wagstaff

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