LAKE CHARLES, La. (AP) — Three petrochemical companies have agreed to pay $11 million to settle charges of illegally disposing hazardous waste that damaged natural resources in part of a Louisiana river's estuary.
The Environmental Protection Agency opened a remedial investigation aimed at identifying the source of contamination in the Calcasieu River and connected water bodies in 1999. That investigation identified four areas, including the Bayou d'Inde area of concern, which the March 22 settlement agreement addressed.
The civil complaint filed alongside the settlement agreement said Lake Charles-area companies Citgo Petroleum Corp., Oxy USA Inc. and PPG Industries Inc. improperly discharged waste, including toxic heavy metals, into the local rivers and bayous that feed the Bayou d'Inde or into the waterways at higher-than-allowed rates.
A notice in Thursday's edition of the Federal Register indicated the three Lake Charles-area companies will pay nearly $8 million into a Bayou d'Inde Area of Concern Site Restoration Account for projects to restore the natural resources, NOLA.com/The Times-Picayune reported. The companies will also pay $1.3 million to the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service and $1.7 million to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to reimburse assessment costs. State agencies will also receive sums.
As part of the settlement, the state of Louisiana will not press additional civil charges or administrative actions.
A federal judge must still approve the settlement agreement.
Information from: The Times-Picayune, http://www.nola.com