Proposed consent decree reached over contamination at Cahokia site

By Bethany Krajelis | Nov 12, 2012

The federal government last week sued and reached a proposed settlement with the owner of a pipeline terminal in St. Clair County.

The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) filed a complaint on Nov. 6 against Phillips 66 Pipeline LLC, seeking to recover some of the money it spent on cleaning up the Rogers Cartage Site in Cahokia.

In 2011, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued an enforcement action memorandum that noted the presence of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) at the site and directed Phillips 66 to excavate and remove about 16,575 tons of soil.

The DOJ said in its complaint that it and the EPA has spent nearly $94,000 on costs related to the five-acre site and had not yet been reimbursed by the defendant.

The agency filed a “consent decree for removal action and recovery of response costs" on the same day the DOJ brought its complaint, which sought recovery under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act of 1980.

The 60-plus page proposed decree states that Phillips 66 will continue the clean-up and pay the EPA about $65,200 for past costs.

The proposed decree also notes that if it gets approved, Phillips 66 will amend its 2011 complaint against Rogers Cartage Co.

Rogers Cartage Co. and its corporate parent, Tankstar Inc., were listed as potentially responsible parties to the contamination in a 2009 EPA liability notice. Phillips 66 received the notice as the current owner of the site.

Court documents show that Rogers Cartage Co. leased the five-acre site sometime in the 1950s through 1970. The company's trucks, which hauled hazardous substances, including PCBs, were washed at the Cahokia site.

Both Rogers Cartage and Tankstar “declined to substantively participate in these negotiations,” the proposed decree states.

In 2011, Phillips 66 sued Rogers Cartage  for cost recovery and injunctive relief. Phillips 66 will amend its complaint to pursue a claim for contribution if the proposed decree is approved.

Last week’s filing of the proposed consent decree opened a 30-day public notice and comment period.

To view the proposed consent decree or to learn more about the public comment period, go to

U.S. District Chief Judge David Herndon was reassigned to the case on Nov. 7. He is presiding over the suit between Phillips 66 and Rogers Cartage Co.

Court records show that Iva Ziza, an attorney in the DOJ's Environmental Enforcement Section in Washington D.C., represents the federal government and James F. Thompson of Lathrop & Gage in Kansas City represents Phillips 66.

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