Settlement In Lawsuit Against Velsicol

Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler announced the settlement of a lawsuit against Velsicol Chemical Company. The complaint, filed last November in the Circuit Court for Kent County, alleged violations of the State’s water pollution control and hazardous substance control laws based on current practices and historical groundwater contamination at Velsicols Chestertown, Maryland facility.

The consent decree requires Velsicol to investigate and clean up contaminated soil and groundwater at the facility, to evaluate and make improvements to its current wastewater treatment system, and to pay $200,000 into the Maryland Clean Water Fund. In addition to requiring site investigation and clean-up of pollution related to historical discharges, the decree directs Velsicol to perform enhanced monitoring of its process wastewater and stormwater discharges and to evaluate and take steps to reduce phosphorus in its process wastewater.

Attorney General Gansler applauds the strong advocacy of the Chester River Association, challenging possible threats to surface water that had not been fully explored. CRA’s actions set an example for others to add their voices to collective efforts to improve the health of the Chesapeake Bay.

Enforcing laws designed to protect Marylanders from the contamination of groundwater is the first step towards preventing future occurrences, said Governor Martin O’Malley. We have made real and steady progress to protect the natural resources we share, and the settlement should serve as a reminder that we all play a role in protecting our environment, most notably Maryland’s corporate citizens.

Velsicol and its predecessors have undertaken actions in the past to monitor and remediate groundwater and soil contamination on parts of the site. Past practices of wastewater disposal have been replaced with more modern treatment systems that result in a highly regulated surface water discharge. MDE’s lawsuit was prompted by Velsicol’s failure to complete the clean up to applicable environmental standards and bolstered by information reported by the Chester River Association (CRA) suggesting that further investigation was needed to determine if contaminants had migrated off-site and into surface waters.