Techsol settlement official

by John O'Brien |
Dec. 14, 2006, 3:00am

Timmermeyer

Pratt

CHARLESTON - Stephanie Timmermeyer, the Secretary of the state's Department of Environmental Protection, recently put her signature on a settlement with Techsol, the railroad car-loading company blamed for a spill in October 2004.

The settlement went through a 30-day period in which citizens could make suggestions concerning it. The DEP received none.

A civil penalty of $3 million is part of the settlement, though Texas attorney Jane Holt-Duecaster has said the owner of Techsol, her brother Richard Holt Jr., has nowhere near that much money left because Techsol has had to shut down. According to the consent decree, Holt has 30 days before the money is owed.

Holt is not allowed to operate any business in which he would handle environmentally sensitive materials that would require a permit from the DEP, too. Techsol can never operate in the state again, either.

Wayne Circuit Judge Darrell Pratt signed the order Dec. 7.

The spill occurred on TechSol's premises Oct. 28, 2004, when 22,000 gallons of coal tar light oil spilled as workers were transferring it from a railroad car leased by Marathon Ashland Petroleum to a truck that would take it to a Kentucky refinery.

Coal tar light oil contains several harmful chemicals, including benzene, that trickled into the ground and nearby stream. Approximately 500 homes were evacuated during two separate evacuation procedures.

Other chemicals included in coal tar light oil are toluene, xylene, naphthalene, indene and z-methylnapthalene.

The DEP's complaint said TechSol did not file for the proper permit when it began coal tar trans-loading, and that it did not notify the DEP of the incident.

The complaint listed several other problems with the operation of TechSol, which shut down immediately after the spill and has not done business since, Greathouse said.

At least eight other lawsuits have been filed against TechSol by the residents who were evacuated during the spill. Other companies listed as defendants on those suits are Marathon Ashland Petroleum, Rescar, Inc., Sloss Industries Corp. and GATX Financial Corp.

Richard Riffe worked the case for the DEP.

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