Federal Judge Approves Settlement for Continued Clean Up of PCB’s from Fox River

Local News

The future costs related to the decades-long contamination of the Fox River is getting more clear.

Wisconsin Attorney General Josh Kaul announced a federal judge has approved a settlement to ensure all future costs related to the contamination will be paid by the corporate companies responsible for the contamination.  

From the mid-1950s until 1971, river sediments were contaminated with polychlorinated biphenyls (PCB’s) that were discharged by paper companies that made and recycled “carbonless” copy paper containing PCB’s. 

In a release, Attorney General Kaul said,

“Generations of Wisconsinites have been affected by the contamination of the Fox River. This settlement ensures that final cleanup will be fully funded by those who contaminated the Fox River, not the taxpayers.”

Chief Judge William Griesbach of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District Wisconsin approved the settlement that ensures all future costs related to the contamination will fall on three corporate companies: NCR Corporation, P.H. Glatfelter Company and Georgia – Pacific Consumer Products LP.

They will cover the costs, rather than the state – which is expected to exceed $1.2 million. 

Through previous settlements, the three companies and other parties have paid for much of the remediation, that includes removing sediment that contains PCB’s by dredging. They have also paid $100 million in natural resource damages for restoration efforts. 

The remedial work has reduced PCB exposure to the fish and humans who eat the fish from the Fox River. 

The cleanup, which began with pilot projects in 1998, is expected to be complete in 2020.

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