ADEQ Director Owens, Attorney General Goddard Announce Settlements for Estes Contamination

(Phoenix, AZ—August 26, 2003) Arizona Department of Environmental Quality Director Steve Owens and Attorney General Terry Goddard today announced settlement agreements totaling nearly $1.7 million with five businesses to resolve their liability for releases of hazardous substances at the Estes Landfill in Phoenix.    

Under terms of the consent agreements, Frazee Industries, Inc. GAC, Inc (formerly known as Goettl Air Conditioning, Inc.), Honeywell International, Inc., Safety-Kleen Systems, Inc., and Waste Management of Arizona, Inc., will pay a combined total of $1,673,000 to help pay the costs of cleaning up the site.  The settlement amounts are based on each of the company's proportionate share of the projected cleanup costs.   

“As these settlements show, this department is committed to recovering costs associated with environmental cleanups,” Owens said.  “We will ensure that those responsible for pollution are held accountable. ”   

The Arizona Attorney General’s Office negotiated the settlement on behalf of the State. Assistant Attorney General Martin Jones was the lead attorney. “This brings a total of nearly $5 million to this important clean-up effort, thanks to the collaboration between ADEQ and the Attorney General’s Office,” said Goddard. “It’s a significant step toward completion of a long-standing effort to hold polluters responsible for their actions.” 

Groundwater contamination from the landfill extends in an oval shape for approximately one-half mile to the west and north of the landfill, bounded approximately by the Salt River to the north, the 153 Expressway to the east, Magnolia Street to the south, and 40th Street to the west.  The landfill operated from the early 1950s to 1972. 

Among the contaminants known to be present in groundwater under the landfill at levels exceeding state and federal standards are dichloroethylene, arsenic, chromium, vinyl chloride, trichloroethene (TCE), benzene and barium.  

In October 2001, ADEQ completed a preliminary remedial action plan for cleaning up the site. Based on the predicted costs from this plan, and expenditures to date, the total recoverable cost of the remedy is estimated to be approximately $6,655,389.  ADEQ has already recovered $3,325,000 from other parties. When the additional agreements are approved, the total amount recovered by ADEQ for use in cleaning up the contamination will be $4,998,000.  

The consent agreement will be subject to a 30-day comment period, beginning ____________.  During that time, the public may submit comment on the agreements.