Today, EPA announced a settlement to end litigation and share in cost recovery on amounts owed for cleanup, security and back-taxes on the Facemate Superfund Site, located in Chicopee, Mass. As a part of a comprehensive settlement, EPA dismissed a federal lawsuit filed in April 2008 against the Facemate site property in order to enforce a federal lien that EPA holds on the property for cleanup costs incurred in connection with the site.
Under the settlement, EPA agreed to dismiss its federal lawsuit in exchange for the City of Chicopee agreeing to take title, advertise and sell 13.25 acres of the property, and then share with EPA the net proceeds from the sale. Each party’s share will be determined by its relative funding contribution to remediation and other efforts that are needed to protect public health and the environment, restore the property and prepare it for sale. As part of this settlement, EPA has also agreed to release its lien on the property. EPA and the city also concluded litigation related to the Facemate site in the Massachusetts state courts.
“This settlement helps clear the way for the site’s redevelopment, which means an expanding economic foundation for Chicopee,” said Curt Spalding, regional administrator of EPA’s New England office. “This cooperative, win-win solution is a good example of EPA and a municipality working together to clean up and rehabilitate a site when there are no responsible private parties left to do the work.”
Releasing the federal lien allows the City to move forward with clean title to the site. By agreeing to share any eventual sale proceeds, federal taxpayers benefit by helping to ensure that EPA is reimbursed for its past costs. Under the agreement, Chicopee will dedicate six acres of the site to a city-owned senior center to be constructed after cleanup. The Facemate site is a priority redevelopment site under Governor Patrick’s Massachusetts Brownfield Support Team Initiative.
From 2004 to 2005, EPA conducted a removal action at the site to address hazardous substances abandoned by the Facemate Corp., a textile manufacturer, after the company went bankrupt and dissolved in 2003. From 1975 to 2003, Facemate owned and operated a textile business at the site where it processed and finished cotton and synthetic fabrics from unfinished materials. The 19.25-acre site is located at 5 West Main Street, along the south bank of the Chicopee River and about one mile from downtown Chicopee. At present, EPA’s costs amount to $1.39 million.