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Campbell pays penalty for Ney site

NEY, Ohio - Campbell Soup Co. has agreed to pay the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency more than $100,000 for hazardous-waste violations at a Defiance County site.

Under a settlement announced yesterday, the Camden, N.J., company will pay a civil penalty of $67,000 and reimburse the EPA $37,571.50 for costs associated with the cleanup.

“It's just good that it's getting cleaned up,” said Heather Lauer, an EPA spokeswoman. “That's the bottom line.”

Campbell's plant in Napoleon, which makes juices, soup, and other heat-and-serve foods, produced cans until June, 1998. That process generated spent lacquer and solvent.

According to the EPA, Campbell stored some of that waste in 55-gallon drums at County Line Auto Parts, a four-acre site on Bend Road in Ney, starting in 1977.

The late Al Imthurn, who owned the site, did not have permits to transport, store, or dispose of the waste, the EPA said. In late 1996, the state agency and the U.S. EPA found about 1,500 leaking, deteriorating drums filled with flammable solvents, oils, and sludge.

Campbell removed the drums and some contaminated soil under a federal enforcement order.

The federal agency cleaned the site to prevent waste from entering Lick Creek, a Tiffin River tributary. About 600 cubic yards of contaminated soil were removed with the barrels. At the time, Campbell agreed to reimburse the U.S. EPA for the cleanup, estimated to be about $1 million.

“We're satisfied with the settlement the company reached with the Ohio EPA,” he said. “We cooperated fully with the Ohio EPA to solve the issues related to cleanup of the site.”

Besides paying the civil penalty, Campbell must secure the site to ensure that no more dumping occurs, test groundwater for contamination, and carry out a hazardous waste closure plan, the Ohio EPA said.

The company must remove solid waste “to clean the site up to residential standards,” Ms. Lauer said. Campbell can use $22,000 of the civil penalty for that work.

“There are homes in the neighborhood,” she said. “It's the site of a former elementary school, and we want to be sure that the potential to put homes there in the future is not lost. It may never be used for that, but it's the cleanest standard we have.”

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