Truck firm to restore juvenile mussels after toxic spill

| 2/24/2003

The United States and the Commonwealth of Virginia have reached a $3.8 million settlement with Certus Inc., an interstate trucking company, to recover damages and assessment costs arising from a chemical spill from an overturned tanker truck, the Justice Department announced Feb. 20.

The spill occurred Aug. 27, 1998 in Tazewell County, VA, and released more than 1,300 gallons of a toxic, liquid chemical product used in carpet manufacturing.

Certus has agreed to pay $3.7 million to restore native, freshwater mussels injured by the spill and more than $90,000 to reimburse all remaining unpaid costs incurred in assessing the injuries caused by the spill.

The recovered funds will finance a multiyear program to breed juvenile mussels in a laboratory setting for reintroduction into the Clinch River to re-establish stable mussel populations.

The area affected by the spill was home to more than a dozen species of native, freshwater mussels, including the federally endangered Tan Riffleshell, Purple Bean and Rough Rabbitsfoot mussel species. The decree was lodged Feb. 19, 2003, in the District Court for the Western District of Virginia. There will be a public comment period of 30 days.