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Companies Agree to $7.2 Million Settlement for Environmental Damage at Duck & Otter Creeks NRDA Site

by Anna

Five companies, Ohio Refining Co., Chevron U.S.A. Inc., Energy Transfer (R&M) LLC, Pilkington North America Inc., and Chemtrade Logistics Inc., have entered into settlements exceeding $7.2 million to resolve claims related to natural resource damages at the Duck & Otter Creeks Natural Resource Damage Assessment (NRDA) site.

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The complaint, associated with the settlements, alleges the companies’ liability for historical industrial discharges of oil and hazardous substances, including polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), arsenic, and lead, at the Duck & Otter Creeks NRDA site near Toledo, Ohio. Situated east of the Maumee River, the site encompasses the creeks, adjoining wetlands, floodplain areas, and uplands, with Duck and Otter Creeks flowing into Maumee Bay in Lake Erie.

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The aquatic environment has suffered from PAH pollution due to oil spills, with PAHs and metals identified in creek sediments at various locations within the site. These concentrations are deemed injurious to invertebrates, fish, birds, and mammals.

Assistant Attorney General Todd Kim of the Justice Department’s Environment and Natural Resources Division highlighted that these settlements would fund restoration work, significantly enhancing the environment around the Maumee River and Lake Erie. The remediation efforts aim to address the harm caused by the release of toxic contaminants, benefiting local communities and restoring crucial habitat.

A draft Restoration Plan, available for a 30-day public review and comment period, proposes restoration work at the Delaware and Clark Island Complex within the Maumee River. This initiative intends to improve water quality, involving the restoration of approximately 23 acres of alluvial islands and the construction of shoreline enhancements to mitigate island erosion.

The project also encompasses the creation and restoration of island, wetland, and submerged habitat for aquatic and bird wildlife, alongside the planting of native vegetation. Attorneys from ENRD’s Environmental Enforcement Section are overseeing the case in collaboration with the Department of the Interior and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS).

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