News Releases

March 7, 2019

Contact:  Ann Regn
804-698-4442

VIRGINIA ANNOUNCES MAJOR SETTLEMENT FOR ATLANTIC WOOD, INC. SUPERFUND SITE IN PORTSMOUTH, VIRGINIA
The proposed consent decree would recover costs and continue cleanup of the Elizabeth River by the responsible parties 

RICHMOND, VA. – The Commonwealth of Virginia through the Secretary of Natural Resources, Office of the Attorney General, and Virginia Department of Environmental Quality along with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and U.S. Department of Justice announced the lodging of a Consent Decree in federal court regarding the Atlantic Wood Industries (AWI) Superfund Site in Portsmouth, Virginia.

The AWI Site is approximately 50 acres of land on the industrialized waterfront of Portsmouth, Virginia, and over 30 acres of sediments and groundwater.  The site is being cleaned-up to address metals and creosote in the Southern Branch of the Elizabeth River.  The AWI Site was added to the EPA's National Priorities List (NPL) in the Superfund program in 1990.  Work at the site has been on-going and in the fall of 2017, EPA completed dredging approximately 300,000 cubic yards of contaminated sediment from the Southern Branch of the Elizabeth River.  Additionally, some of the dredged sediment was consolidation and capped behind an offshore sheet pile wall with additional sediment being capped on the western portion of the site.

"This proposed settlement is a critical milestone in addressing historic contamination in the Elizabeth River," said Virginia Secretary of Natural Resources Matthew J. Strickler. "The agreement also creates a more equitable distribution of fiscal responsibilities, which will allow us to continue improving water quality in the Elizabeth River at a significantly reduced cost to Virginia taxpayers."

The proposed Consent Decree addresses liability for clean-up costs and other measures from Atlantic Metrocast and Atlantic Wood Industries as well as the Department of Defense (DoD) and the U.S. Navy.  The DoD and the U.S. Navy will agree to pay the Commonwealth $8.5 million toward its share of remedial costs and operations and maintenance for the remedy at the Site.  Additionally, they will provide $1.5 million to provide oyster restoration in the Elizabeth River.

Under the proposed terms, Atlantic Wood Industries and Atlantic Metrocast will provide $175,000 in cost recovery to the Commonwealth as well as conduct some operations and maintenance of remedial measures at the Site.  Additionally, the Commonwealth will have clear ownership of two acres of land connected to the remedy and adjacent to the Elizabeth River to ensure the protection of the new land and underlying remedy.  

“This is a significant agreement that will ensure accountability and sustained environmental improvements along an important Hampton Roads waterway,” said Attorney General Mark R. Herring.      

View a copy of the filing.

Additional information regarding the AWI Site and activities can be found on EPA’s Superfund website

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Virginia Department of
Environmental Quality
P.O. Box 1105
Richmond, VA 23218
(804) 698-4000


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