Mopping Up the PCB Mess

A pipeline company must come up with a $400 million solution

The repairman from New York's Long Island Lighting Co. was trying to fix a faulty home-heating system when he found a mysterious oily sludge in the natural-gas pipe connected to the house. LILCO soon learned that the substance contained dangerous concentrations of PCBs, a class of highly toxic industrial chemicals. That startling discovery in 1981 eventually led the Environmental Protection Agency to launch a major investigation of Texas Eastern, the Houston-based firm that supplied the gas to LILCO. Last week, in the largest settlement of an EPA case in history, Texas Eastern (1986 revenues: $4.1 billion) agreed to undertake a massive...

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