Attorney General Cuomo Announces $1.1 Million Settlement To Recoup Cost Of Hazardous Waste Cleanup In Steuben & Yates Counties

ALBANY, N.Y. (February 9, 2009) - Attorney General Andrew M. Cuomo today announced two settlements combined worth over $1.1 million with over 50 parties - including Corning, Ingersoll-Rand, Kraft Foods, NYSEG and La-Z-Boy - requiring them to reimburse the state for cleanup cost of landfills in Steuben and Yates Counties that were each contaminated with hazardous waste.

The money collected through these settlements will help fund the cleanup of other hazardous waste sites in New York.

“Hazardous waste sites like these not only present dangers to public health and the environment, they also cause taxpayer dollars to be used for the cleanup costs,” said Attorney General Cuomo. “My office took action to ensure that the cost of cleaning up of these landfills are taken off the taxpayers’ backs and rightfully shifted to the parties that brought the harmful waste to these areas. They are doing the right thing by reimbursing the state and taking responsibility for their prior actions.”

“DEC has worked to ensure the proper closure and oversight of these landfills and has partnered with the Attorney General's Office to make sure the responsible parties - not the public - pay for the cleanup
costs. As a result, the settlement is a victory for the taxpayers and the environment,” said Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Pete Grannis.

In Steuben County, five entities that disposed of hazardous waste at the Lindley Landfill on Gibson Road in the Town of Lindley are required to collectively pay back the state $435,000 for its cleanup. The landfill was operated between 1977 and 1983 under the operation of the Steuben County Highway Department and was later named a hazardous waste site under New York State’s Superfund program in 1991 after toxic chemicals, including lead and arsenic, were discovered in soils and water. The landfill was capped and a pollution control system was installed in 1998 that continues to operate under DEC oversight.

An investigation identified five entities that sent hazardous waste to the Lindley site: Corning, Inc., Ingersoll-Rand Co., Kraft Foods Global, Inc., New York State Electric and Gas Company (NYSEG), and the U.S. Veterans Administration. The $435,000 settlement was approved by United States District Judge Skretny on January 31.

In Yates County, fifty businesses and other entities that disposed of hazardous waste at the Torrey Landfill on Long Point Road in the Town of Torrey are required to pay back $750,000 to the state for its cleanup. The landfill, which operated between 1972 and 1984 under the supervision of Yates County, was designated a state Superfund site in 1987 due to high levels of toxic substances released in the groundwater and surface water, including the metals barium and iron, and the carcinogens carbon tetrachloride and 1, 2-dichloroethane. The landfill was capped and a pollution control system was installed in 1998 that continues to operate under DEC oversight.

An investigation identified 50 parties that sent hazardous waste to the Torrey site, including: Transelco (a division of the Ferro Corporation), Seneca Foods, the bus manufacturer Coach & Equipment Manufacturing Corporation, La-Z-Boy, Inc., and NYSEG. The $750,000 settlement was approved by United States District Judge Arcara on January 16.

Both cases were handled in the Attorney General’s office by Assistant Attorney General Karen R. Kaufmann under the supervision of Deputy Bureau Chief Lisa Burianek and Special Deputy Attorney General for Environmental Protection Katherine Kennedy.

 

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