CHARLESTON -- The federal government is suing a West Virginia company for the costs it incurred after cleaning up potentially hazardous substances at a Dunbar facility owned by the company.
The federal government filed the lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia on Sept. 22. The named defendant is TRAC Enterprises LLC.
According to its 11-page complaint, the government is seeking recovery from TRAC for costs it incurred in responding to "releases or threatened releases" of hazardous substances at Custom Plating and Polishing, Inc. in Dunbar.
From Dec. 2, 2002 through Oct. 14, 2005, the site -- owned by TRAC -- was the location of a metal refinishing and electroplating business, operated by CPP.
TRAC later evicted CPP from the site. However, all containers, chemicals, wastes, and other equipment used in metal refinishing and electroplating operations remained.
According to the federal government's complaint, the Environmental Protection Agency found about 110 containers with wastes and chemicals, including chromium, chromic acid, copper, copper cyanide, cyanide, hydrochloric acid, nickel, nitric acid, sodium, sodium cyanide and sulfuric acid -- all of which are hazardous substances.
Some of the containers appeared corroded, some were open and some were leaking, the government says.
On Dec. 1, 2006, the EPA sent a general notice letter to TRAC, informing it of its potential liability in connection with the site.
Between Nov. 28, 2006 and Jan. 26, 2007, the agency and the U.S. Coast Guard Atlantic Strike Team conducted what it calls an "emergency removal action."
On Jan. 4, 2010, the EPA sent a letter to the defendant, this time demanding payment of $618,896.84 to reimburse the agency for response costs.
The federal government is asking the district court enter judgment in its favor, holding TRAC liable for all unreimbursed costs plus accrued interest thereon.
The United States is represented by W. Benjamin Fisherow, acting chief of the Environmental Enforcement Section of the Environmental and Natural Resources Division of the U.S. Department of Justice; Erica H. Penca, trial attorney for the justice department; and Assistant U.S. Attorney Gary L. Call.
Charleston attorney C. Page Hamrick is representing the defendant.