EPA issued a unilateral administrative order (UAO) under section 106 of CERCLA to implement a remedial design (RD) for the Gowanus Canal. EPA took this action after negotiations with responsible parties bogged down. The agency wants the RD fieldwork to commence this spring.
Back in September 2013, EPA issued a Notice for the Commencement of Remedial Design Negotiations and Demand for Past Costs (“Notice and Demand”) to a group of responsible parties. The Notice and Demand sought $5 million in partial past costs and execution of an RD consent order by the responsible parties. EPA then convened a meeting of the PRPs November 2013 with the intent that a consent order be executed in December. The agency subsequently extended the deadline to January 31, 2014 and then later to February 14, 2014.
In the meantime, National Grid and EPA entered into a settlement agreement where National Grid developed and submitted for EPA for approval Pre-RD and RD Work Plans. National Grid also paid EPA $1 million in partial reimbursement of EPA’s outstanding past response costs.
According to the UAO, EPA is currently conducting separate consent order negotiations with New York City for the portion of the RD that involves the siting and design of Combined Sewer Overflow (CSO) retention tanks and the design for the cleanup and restoration of the former 1st Street turning basin. EPA is also negotiating an administrative order for a removal action with a number of other responsible parties which would require implementation of bulkhead upgrades as well as the coordination and cooperation with the responsible parties implementing the RD.
A copy of the UAO is available here.