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The Consent Decree outlines a plan for cleanup of mercury contamination to accelerate recovery of the Penobscot River Estuary.


Under the Consent Decree, Mallinckrodt will provide $187 million for remediation measures, beneficial environmental projects, and long-term monitoring of conditions in the Estuary. Mallinckrodt may also have to pay an additional $80 million in contingent funds if changes to the remedies are needed to achieve the goal of reducing the environmental and human health effects of mercury in the Estuary.


To accelerate the natural recovery of the Estuary, the Consent Decree describes several remedial measures, including the removal of contaminated sediments and the capping of contaminated sediments on intertidal flats—shoreline areas that are covered by water during high tide and exposed during low tide. The Consent Decree also includes funds for long-term monitoring of fish, birds, surface water, sediment, and organisms that live in sediment to measure recovery of the River.


These remedies were selected based on the results of multiple previous studies, including the recommendations of the third-party engineering firm appointed by the U.S. District Court to identify remedial actions to accelerate recovery of the Estuary.


The remediation focuses on key areas of the Estuary where studies show remedies are expected to speed up the Estuary’s natural recovery. These areas include Orrington Reach, mobile sediments, areas of surface deposits, and Orland River and the East Channel.

Under the Consent Decree, Mallinckrodt must provide $20 million for beneficial environmental projects intended to benefit the public and environment and help offset the damage caused by mercury contamination to the Estuary and its surrounding communities.


Under the Court-approved settlement, two trusts were created to carry out the cleanup work and implement the beneficial environmental projects program.


The Penobscot Estuary Mercury Remediation Trust (Remediation Trust) is responsible for cleanup of mercury contamination in Estuary sediments and has begun to develop work plans for investigations and remedial design and will secure permits needed to carry out the cleanup. In performing its work, the Remediation Trust will share information with the community and seek its input when specific cleanup plans are further defined. 


The Penobscot Estuary Beneficial Environmental Projects Trust (Project Trust) is responsible for selecting, funding, and overseeing projects designed to provide tangible environmental and public benefits to help offset damage caused by mercury contamination to the Penobscot communities and ecosystem. Until January 5, 2024, the Project Trustee accepted proposals from stakeholders seeking funding for beneficial environmental projects (BEPs). Learn about the BEP proposal review and selection process at the Project Trust page.


Maine People’s Alliance, the Natural Resources Defense Council, and Mallinckrodt selected – and the Court appointed – Greenfield Environmental Trust Group, Inc. (Greenfield), to serve as the independent Trustee for the Remediation Trust and the Project Trust. Greenfield has more than 30 years of experience serving as a Court-approved environmental response and custodial trustee and managing complex environmental cleanups around the country.

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