Settlement Reached for Hidden Lane Landfill Cleanup

Persimmon Lane LLC has reached a settlement with state and federal authorities to help fund the cleanup and promote the reuse of the 150-acre Hidden Lane Landfill Superfund site in Sterling.

The agreement, filed in federal court in Richmond and announced May 3, requires Persimmon Lane to reimburse the federal and state governments for cleanup costs with proceeds from the future sale of the property. The company was established by the estate of the former property owner to facilitate the sale or transfer of the property.

The land, between Broad Run Farms and CountrySide north of Rt. 7, was owned by Philip Smith and Albert Morgan, who operated a 25-acre disposal landfill, mainly for construction debris, starting in 1971. The Loudoun County government closed the facility in 1984 after testing of groundwater and area drinking wells revealed the presence of landfill-related contaminants including a common degreasing solvent trichloroethylene (TCE).

In 2008, a 150-acre area including the landfill site was added to Environmental Protection Agency’s Superfund list of the nation’s most contaminated sites. According to EPA testing, a plume of TCE contamination moved underground north of the landfill sites toward the Potomac River. Wells serving 22 area homes tested positive for TCE, with 16 above safe drinking water levels. The EPA installed carbon filters to address the health concerns.

[Read a chronology of the Hidden Land Landfill situation here.]

As part of the settlement, Persimmon Lane must make good faith efforts to generate proceeds from the transfer of the property for potential development and/or wetlands mitigation credits, which can be used by purchasers to compensate for the impact of lost wetlands on other locations. Persimmon Lane must then pay a portion of those proceeds to EPA and Virginia to cover cleanup costs.

The agreement settles a federal lawsuit filed under the Comprehensive Environmental Responsibility, Compensation, and Liability Act, which requires landowners, waste generators and waste transporters responsible for site contamination to either clean up the site, or reimburse the government or other parties for cleanup costs.

Read more information on this site and its cleanup here.

A graphic showing areas of TCE contamination around the former Hidden Lane Landfill in Sterling.

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