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N.Y. FIRM AGREES TO PAY $18.5 MILLION FOR CLEANUP

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A national building-materials corporation has agreed to help pay for the cleanup of cement kiln dust and contaminated soils at a Super-fund site in Salt Lake City.

As part of its bankruptcy reorganization, New York-based Lone Star Industries Inc. has agreed to an $18.5 million settlement with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.The money will be used to remove 500,000 tons of cement kiln dust and contaminated soils at the old Portland Cement Co. manufacturing site near 1000 South and Redwood Road.

"EPA is very happy with the settlement," said Mike McCeney, the EPA's project manager for the Portland Cement site. "We feel we got more than we would have had we gone into litigation."

The old cement plant site, which is on the EPA's Superfund list of national cleanup priorities, contains cement kiln dust, which is highly alkaline and contains elevated levels of arsenic and lead. Also present at the site are contaminated soils and chromium-bearing kiln bricks.

Though Lone Star, which owns the site and three other Portland Cement sites in Salt Lake and Davis counties, has been in bankruptcy since December 1990, the EPA and the state Department of Environmental Quality have proceeded with the investigation and design for the cleanup, McCeney said. The settlement, which still has to be approved by a federal bankruptcy judge in New York, would simply ensure that EPA will be reimbursed for a portion of the Superfund money it has spent on the cleanup.

"There is a chance that the settlement may not cover 100 percent of our costs at this site," McCeney said. "Unfortunately, this settlement had to occur before we had incurred all our costs. We had no other choice because of the bankruptcy proceeding."

Had the case gone into litigation, the EPA may well have come out a loser because Lone Star had a "very large team" of attorneys, McCeney said.

About $2 million of the settlement will go to the state for groundwater monitoring and other costs associated with maintaining the site.