BANGOR, Maine — The state will receive $413,433 from the U.S. Department of Defense for the cleanup of waste oil sites in Ellsworth and Casco if a consent decree is approved by a federal judge.
The Maine Department of Environmental Protection filed a complaint and a copy of the proposed consent decree Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Bangor.
Similar consent decrees have been approved by federal judges in Maine.
The waste oil came from the military bases around the state, most of which are now closed, but court documents do not name them.
The DEP has spent about $1.7 million and expects to spend another $2.5 million to clean up the 4.58-acre Casco site, now owned by the town, located on Tenney Hill Road, according to court documents. The agency has spent more than $2.5 million and anticipates spending an additional nearly $4.2 million to remediate the 0.92-acre Ellsworth site, now owned by the DEP, located on Route 1A near Foggy Bottom Road. Both were used as oil disposal sites between the 1960s and 1980s.
In 2002 and 2003 more than 6,800 tons of contaminated soil was removed from the Casco site, the complaint said. In 2002, 1,990 tons of contaminated soil was removed from the Ellsworth site.
Both sites were owned by the Portland Bangor Waste Oil Co. and were two of several oil disposal sites in Maine owned by George West Jr., now deceased, according to court documents. The sites came to the attention of the DEP in the early 1990s because of concerns about groundwater contamination.
“According to information obtained by DEP, including company records and interviews, the company received quantities of waste oil from military bases, auto dealerships, municipalities, local garages, industries and utility companies,” the complaint said. “The waste oil was stored in five or six 2,000 gallon storage tanks. The tanks were reported to be partially buried.”
An investigation for responsible parties to contribute to clean up the Casco site found that at least 97,171 gallons of waste oil and other liquids were brought to that location from at least 192 parties, the complaint said.
Efforts to reach officials for comment on the proposed decree were unsuccessful Thursday afternoon and Friday morning. In the past, officials have declined to comment until the proposed decree was signed.
The costs of cleaning up these sites appear to be far less than those associated with West’s larger site in Plymouth. In 2000, a federal judge approved a $14 million consent agreement that settled a federal lawsuit against 81 businesses, municipalities, school districts, universities and colleges, which disposed of waste oil at a 17-acre site known as the Hows Corner Superfund Site.
Watch bangordailynews.com for updates.