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Settlement Forces Changes at Merck

A settlement has been reached in a lawsuit filed by the Chesapeake Bay Foundation that challenged a Virginia State Water Control Board decision that had allowed Merck & Co. to increase its pollution discharge into the Shenandoah River's South Fork.

Under the settlement approved Wednesday by Richmond Circuit Judge Melvin R. Hughes Jr., Merck's nitrogen and phosphorus discharges will conform with U.S. Environmental Protection Agency guidelines for pollution flowing into the bay.

The foundation and the Virginia State Waterman's Association filed the lawsuit in 2009. It argued that allowing Merck to discharge more pollutants violated the overall nutrient cap for the
Shenandoah-Potomac River Basin and ultimately harmed the bay.

The water board agreed to the settlement provisions earlier this month.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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