Intel, Raytheon Strike Superfund Cleanup Deal With EPA (Law360)
By Roxanne Palmer
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Intel Corp. and Raytheon Co. on Monday asked a California federal court to approve a new cleanup agreement requiring the companies to work on preventing contaminants from migrating from groundwater into buildings on a Superfund site.
The case centers on the Middlefield-Ellis-Whisman Superfund site in Mountain View, Calif., where the EPA says Raytheon and Intel facilities used volatile organic chemicals that contaminated nearby soil and groundwater, including trichloroethene, which is used to degrease metals and is classified as carcinogenic by the World Health Organization.
Since 1968, Intel owned and operated a facility at the site that made semiconductor products, while Raytheon conducted a variety of activities including circuit fabrication and testing at three facilities on the MEW site since the 1960s. The two companies also shared an acid neutralization sump on the site until 1973, according to the EPA's unopposed motion for approval of the consent decree.
"Investigations in the early 1980s indicated that significant levels of contaminants had been released from these facilities to the soil and groundwater," the motion said.
Intel and Raytheon have already worked to clean up the groundwater at the site by installing slurry walls to contain contaminants, according to a previous consent decree approved in 1992.
According to that consent decree, soon after the companies completed the work, however, the EPA found that this remedy did not address the long-term risks of the vapor intrusion pathway, where chemicals in the soil or groundwater can evaporate into the air, potentially contaminating buildings located above.
The amended consent decree requires Intel and Raytheon to pay for the EPA's response costs associated with a remedy for the vapor intrusion, which entails sealing the places where vapors migrate into a building, installing or modifying a ventilation system, and conducting monitoring for existing and future buildings on the site.
The EPA says the amended consent decree is fair, reasonable and consistent with the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act.
"The addition of the vapor intrusion remedy is a reasonable measure necessary to achieve the purpose of the original 1992 consent decree, which was designed to protect public health and welfare from releases of hazardous substances at the MEW site," the EPA said.
Representatives for the parties could not immediately be reached for comment Tuesday.
Intel is represented by Edward L. Strohbehn Jr. of Bingham McCutchen LLP. Raytheon is represented by Gordon C. Atkinson of Cooley LLP.
The case is USA v. Intel Corp. et al., case number 5:91-cv-20275, in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California.
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