On Tuesday, the Department of Justice announced that Solutia Inc. and Pharmacia LLC, two successors to the Monsanto Company, are set to “complete the cleanup of four former landfills and waste lagoons” located in Illinois as a result of a settlement with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
Over the past few decades, certain sites around the Mississippi River, specifically some in Sauget, Illinois have been subject to considerable pollution. The pollution is a direct result of the sites being used to “dispose of hazardous and other wastes throughout much of the 20th century.” The waste contaminants that have polluted the area include dioxin, PCBs, lead, cadmium, benzene, and more. The presence of the pollutants puts workers, anglers, or others with access to the site at a considerable risk of exposure to the harmful contaminants.
This announcement is the latest in the lengthy litigation involving hazardous wastes that have polluted the Mississippi River and its surrounding areas. The settlement will have Solutia and Pharmacia reimburse the EPA $700,000 for past cleanup costs, effectively ensuring that “polluters, not the American public, pay for the investigation and cleanup of Superfund sites.” The settlement will also give the responsibilities of implementing the EPA’s $17.9 million plan to Solutia and Pharmacia.
Deputy Assistant Attorney General Bruce S. Gelber of the Justice Department’s Environment and Natural Resources Division stated that “This settlement is one in a series that requires the industry that polluted Sauget and Cahokia, Illinois, to clean up their mess.” He further added “for too long, residents in the Metro East area have been overburdened by legacy sources of pollution.”