AVX Corp. to Pay $366 Million in Settlement With EPA

AVX Corp., a maker of electronic components, agreed to pay $366 million to settle a U.S. lawsuit over continuing cleanup of a Massachusetts harbor contaminated 40 years ago with hazardous waste by the company’s predecessor.

The cleanup of the New Bedford harbor Superfund site in New Bedford, Massachusetts, will be complete in five to seven years as a result of the settlement, the U.S. Justice Department said in an e-mail.

AVX’s corporate predecessor, Aerovox Corp., operated a plant on the shore of the harbor from the 1940s to the 1970s that discharged hazardous substances, including polychlorinated biphenyls, known as PCBs, the agency said. In 1983 the site was included in the Environmental Protection Agency’s Superfund Program, which cleans up the U.S.’s most hazardous toxic sites.

Aerovox “produced liquid filled capacitors adjacent to the harbor,” AVX said in an e-mail. “Subsequent owners of the facility are dissolved or in bankruptcy. AVX itself never produced this type of capacitor, nor does it do so today.”

AVX, a Greenville, South Carolina-based affiliate of Japan’s Kyocera Group, previously paid $66 million for cleanup costs and natural resource damages at the harbor site as a result of a 1992 settlement with the U.S. and Massachusetts that could be reopened for renegotiation. AVX agrees to pay $366.25 million plus interest to settle its remaining liabilities for cleanup at the harbor site, the Justice Department said.

A consent decree eliminates the government’s right to reopen the settlement, AVX said in an e-mail. The settlement is subject to a 30-day public comment period and court approval.

The case is U.S. v AVX, 83-3882, U.S. District Court, District of Massachusetts (Boston).

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