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ORC operated a refinery on 160 acres in Cyril, Oklahoma from 1920 to 1984.

In 1984 the company declared bankruptcy and, two years later, an Oklahoma City Court approved the bankruptcy and the abandonment of the facility.

In 1981, the EPA observed leachate, or water that passes through and then contains traces of environmentally harmful substances, coming from the site, threatening nearby creeks used for recreation.

In 1986, the EPA found that a monitoring well on the site “was contaminated with arsenic, lead, chromium, cobalt, beryllium, nickel, and xylene.” At that time, an estimated 1,600 people obtained their drinking water from public or private wells within 3 miles of the site.

The settlement will help the EPA with the ongoing cleanup of remaining contamination.

State Impact Oklahoma is a partnership among Oklahoma’s public radio stations and relies on contributions from readers and listeners to fulfill its mission of public service to Oklahoma and beyond.

Many of the wastes were also flammable, posing the threat of fire or explosion.

The site containing hazardous substances was also left accessible to people and animals.

“Given the competing goals of bankruptcy law, which strives to minimize the financial impact on the debtor, and environmental laws, which place a premium on public health and welfare and the environment, the approval of the million settlement results in a righteous outcome for the governmental agencies that are working relentlessly to clean up the mess left behind yet another corporation,” said Emmie Jaskiewicz, an attorney with the Levin, Papantonio law firm who practices in the area of BP Oil Spill litigation.

“This outcome is especially necessary where the environmental agencies risk having to cover any shortfall necessary to remediate the environmental hazards.

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