Contact: Chrystal Bartlett 919-733-4996 ext. 425 Date: June 1, 2000 Distribution: Statewide
State-Industry Partnership Yields $425,000 For Voluntary Cleanups

RALEIGH - The Division of Waste Management has reached an agreement with eight North Carolina manufactured gas plant owners to assess and clean up 27 abandoned coal gas operation sites scattered across the state.

The agreement, signed on May 1, 2000 allows the parties responsible for environmental hazards to voluntarily consent to do the necessary clean up work under departmental oversight. Part of the $425,000 included in the agreement will be used to pay the salaries of two division environmental engineers. The engineers will work exclusively on coal tar cleanup for three years. In return, the industries can accelerate their cleanup schedules by having qualified state personnel devoted to reviewing their work.

The agreement between the agency and the North Carolina Manufactured Gas Plant Group creates two innovative precedents. First, it represents the division's first effort with directly funded state oversight. By obtaining those costs from the responsible parties before the cleanup begins, the division can hire staff dedicated to the assessment and cleanup of these sites without any cost to taxpayers. Prior to the agreement, the division lacked the resources to oversee these cleanups within a reasonable timeframe. Second, this is the first cleanup planned between the division and a group of responsible parties with multiple sites. By negotiating with NC MGP, DWM is saving considerable time and resources.

Ralph Roberts, NC MGP chairman agrees, "Negotiating one master agreement for all of the MGP sites saves the division and the MGP Group members' time and money compared to negotiating 27 separate agreements. More importantly, having two division engineers dedicated to our sites will permit us to move forward with site cleanups. This will allow group members to remove liabilities from our books and put these properties back into productive uses. This agreement is good for the division, taxpayers, NC MGP Group members and the communities where the former MGP sites are located."

The unusual agreement came about when division officials suggested the various companies that owned abandoned coal gas plants conduct voluntary cleanups. The companies formed their own industry group, NC MGP, to negotiate with the division. The pact commits all group members to assessments and necessary remediations at each site. If three years is insufficient, those members with incompletely cleaned sights can renew the agreement, and provide additional funds for continued oversight. The division has agreed to prioritize cleanup operations in order to concentrate on sites with the highest environmental threats.

"I think that we have found something with this direct funding approach," said Bruce Nicholson, head of the division's Special Remediation Branch. "The group had no problem funding oversight positions because they wanted state oversight as much as we did. This allows us to get these sites cleaned sooner with less cost to taxpayers."

Group members include Duke Power, Carolina Power and Light, Public Service Co. of North Carolina, NUI North Carolina Gas (formerly Pennsylvania and Southern Gas), Piedmont Natural Gas, Greenville's Utilities Commission, and the cities of Rocky Mount and Wilson. The City of Fayetteville will decide whether or not to join the group by the end of May.

Manufactured gas plants processed coal to create coal gas, which was used before natural gas rose to popularity in the 1950s. The by-product, coal tar, was either sold, placed in on-site pits which have since been abandoned, or simply dumped into nearby stream beds. Over time, the coal tar, which contains carcinogenic constituents, has migrated through both soil and ground water. The cleanup will involve remove large volumes of contaminated soil, water, and, potentially, stream bed sediment.

(Editor's Note: A list of the NCMGP sites is attached.)


Asheville # 1 Carolina Power & Light Company
Asheville # 2 Public Service Company of North Carolina
Burlington Duke Energy Corporation (1) (a)
Charlotte # 2 Duke Energy Corporation (1) (a)
Concord Public Service Company of North Carolina
Durham Public Service Company of North Carolina
Elizabeth City Pennsylvania and Southern Gas Company (North Carolina Gas Service Division)
Fayetteville City of Fayetteville
Gastonia Public Service Company of North Carolina
Greensboro # 1 Duke Energy Corporation (1) (a)
Greensboro # 2 Duke Energy Corporation
Greenville Greenville Utility Commission
Hickory Piedmont Natural Gas Company, Inc
High Point Duke Energy Corporation
Kinston Carolina Power & Light Company
Mount Airy Duke Energy Corporation
New Bern Carolina Power & Light Company
Raleigh # 1 Carolina Power & Light Company
Raleigh # 2 Public Service Company of North Carolina
Reidsville Pennsylvania and Southern Gas Company (North Carolina Gas Service Division)
Rocky Mount #1 City of Rocky Mount
Salisbury #1 Duke Energy Corporation
Statesville Public Service Company of North Carolina
Washington Carolina Power & Light Company
Wilmington Carolina Power & Light Company
Wilson City of Wilson
Winston-Salem #1 Duke Energy Corporation

* The NCMGP Owners/Operators shown are for purposes of this Agreement only. (1) Acenaphthlene, Acenaphthylene, Anthracene, Benzo(a)anthracene, Benzo(b)fluoranthene, Benzo(a)pyrene, Benzo(ghi)perylene, Chrysene, Dibenzo(ah)anthracene, Fluoranthene, Fluorene, Indeno(1,2,3,-ed)pyrene, Phenanthrene, Benzene, Ethyl Benzene, Tolune, Xylene, Naphthalene, Pyrene, Cadmium, Chromium, Lead, Arsenic, Mercury, Cyanide, (a) site soils. (b) site ground water

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