"If taxpayers end up paying only 1 percent of the cost of cleaning up PCB contamination in the Fox River, that could be between $10 million and $15 million. If the taxpayer obligation reaches 10 percent, the figure becomes $100 million or more.
How big an impact would that make? One of the agencies caught in the cleanup dispute, the Neenah-Menasha Sewerage Commission, has an annual budget of just $4.5 million.
The public agencies battling private industry over the river contamination all hope to emerge relatively unscathed from an upcoming federal trial to determine responsibility for the cleanup.
But nobody knows for certain how much of the bill — projected to reach $1 billion and perhaps $1.5 billion — ultimately will go to the public sector."