Chicago Tribune: Kane settles suit with Shell over tainted soil: “Kane County has agreed to accept $350,000 from Shell Pipeline Co. LP, of Houston, in exchange for dropping the firm from a million-dollar lawsuit filed a year ago by the county in the firm's disposal of contaminated soil…”: Wednesday 14 Sept 2005
By William Presecky
Tribune staff reporter
Published September 14, 2005
Kane County has agreed to accept $350,000 from Shell Pipeline Co. LP, of Houston, in exchange for dropping the firm from a million-dollar lawsuit filed a year ago by the county in the firm's disposal of contaminated soil at a county-owned landfill in Geneva.
The settlement was approved Tuesday by the Kane County Board after a closed-door session discussing the litigation.
An environmental engineering firm involved with Shell's efforts to dispose of some benzene-laced soil from a 1980s spill site in Kankakee County remains the lone defendant in the lawsuit.
Pending a settlement with Parsons engineering Science Inc, the county is prepared to go trial Oct. 31 in U.S. District Court in Chicago, according to County Board attorney Kenneth Shepro.
In the settlement with Shell, the county has agreed to release all claims against the firm stemming from the February 2004 disposal of about 200 tons of tainted soil at Settler's Hill Landfill at Fabyan Parkway and Kirk Road.
The benzene-laced soil was shipped, allegedly by mistake, to Settler's Hill in February 2004 and co-mingled with about 9,000 tons of garbage and covered with dirt. Settler's Hill is not licensed to accept the type of "special waste" that Shell later alerted authorities its hauler had inadvertently disposed of there.
Based on expert advice, the county opted to leave the contaminated site undisturbed because the relatively low level of benzene the soil was found to contain would quickly evaporate, which it has, said county Director of Environmental Management Tim Harbaugh.
In a separate action related to the illegal dumping incident, Illinois Atty. Gen. Lisa Madigan in late July settled a Circuit Court lawsuit she brought against Shell. Madigan agreed to settle the state suit after the firm agreed to pay $105,000 in penalties and make a $50,000 donation to a Kane recycling program.
Madigan had charged in her lawsuit that Shell improperly disposed of hazardous waste.
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