BRUNSWICK, GEORGIA - A company has agreed to pay the state of Georgia $4 million for environmental cleanup of a former chemical plant.
The Brunswick News reported that Honeywell International had filed the settlement with the state Department of Natural Resources in federal court in Atlanta.
The money will cover cleanup costs related to the former LCP Chemicals plant, as well as pay the state for lost fishing opportunities from chemicals polluting nearby marsh and waterways.
The site is now being cleaned up under the federal Superfund law. Honeywell and Georgia Power Co. in 2016 agreed to pay the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency $29 million to clean up 760 acres (308 hectares) of marshland.
Officials are deciding what to do about land at the site. They've recommended that no further action be taken and no residential use of the site be allowed. That's because an extensive amount of contaminated soil has already been removed and local officials plan to zone the site for industrial use.
Later, officials must decide what to do about contaminated groundwater at the site and mercury-containing soil under some buildings.
Pollution remains high enough that people are warned not to eat seafood from the marsh. Estuarine dolphins known to feed in the area have tested positive for unhealthy levels of PCBs and other contaminants that can be traced back to the LCP site.
The state doesn't yet have a plan for spending the money. Georgia's natural resources commissioner will select projects after future public input and consultation with Honeywell, local governments and others.
According to the consent decree, the state will create a restoration plan describing how the funds dedicated for natural resources restoration efforts under this section will be used to restore lost recreational uses.
All of the money is to go toward ``restoration, rehabilitation or replacement of injured natural resources and/or acquisition of equivalent resources related to lost recreational uses.''
The public can comment on the consent decree and the court has not yet approved it.