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Novelis Corporation to pay $1.9 million to EPA for past cleanup at Butler Mine Tunnel Superfund Site


The Novelis Corporation has agreed to reimburse the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency $1.9 million for cleanup costs at the Butler Mine Tunnel Superfund Site in Pittston, Luzerne County, Pa.

Novelis Corp., previously known as the Alcan Aluminum Corp., is the last of approximately 50 potential responsible parties to agree to reimburse EPA for cleanup costs. A consent decree, lodged Jan. 11 by the U.S. Justice Department on behalf of EPA, requires Novelis to pay the $1.9 million in three installments, which covers the remaining balance of EPAís cleanup costs at the site.

The Butler Mine Tunnel was constructed in the 1930s in order to drain deep mine workings from underground coal mines in a surrounding five-mile area. Flow from the mine tunnel discharges directly into the Susquehanna River. An oily discharge in the Susquehanna in 1979 was traced to runoff from the mine tunnel. The runoff was further traced to boreholes that were originally drilled into the mines to serve as air vents.

Novelis Corp. was allegedly one of several parties identified as contributors to the runoff because the company had hired a contractor to dispose of hazardous industrial waste that was discharged directly into one of the boreholes that led to a network of deep underground mines and eventually flowed into the Susquehanna. Under the Superfund law, the landowners, waste generators and waste transporters that are responsible for the contamination of a Superfund site must either clean up the site, or reimburse the government or other parties for cleanup activities.

Since 1987, when the site was added to EPAís Superfund list of the nationís most contaminated sites, EPA has entered into several consent decrees that required responsible parties to perform remedial action and/or reimburse EPA. Most of the remedial action was completed at the site in 2005.

Additional information on the Butler Mine Tunnel Site is available at


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