BLUEFIELD – Cooper Industries, a manufacturer of electrical products, will pay $340,000 to the federal Environmental Protection Agency under a consent decree filed May 23.

The amount will reimburse the EPA for the costs it incurred cleaning up hazardous substances at the Lin-Electric Superfund site in Bluefield. Cooper’s corporate predecessors used the facility from 1924 to 1988 to rebuild electric motors and transformers used in coal mining.

According to a complaint filed in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia, the chemicals that were released or threatened to be released were Polychlorinated Biphenyls (PCBs) and Trichloroethylene (TCE).

“PCBs and TCE were disposed of in the soils, drains, sludges, sumps and other features of the site,” the complaint says.

“Prior to closing the Site in 1986, samples taken by Cooper recorded TCE and PCB levels of as much as 37,000 parts per billion and 370 ppb, respectively.

“In 2008, EPA recorded PCB levels of as much as 7.8 ppb in water samples from two difference storage areas on the site, and also observed PCB contamination levels of as much as 84 ppb in sediment samples taken at the site.”

The EPA has overseen and conducted clean-up efforts at the site at two different times. Once from 2004 to 2005 and once from 2008-10. In 2004, the state Department of Environmental Protection closed the site after it was abandoned.

“WVDEP found the presence of toluene, acetone, xylene and varnishes at the Site, as well as corrosive flammable substances and ash left by Lin-Electric,” the complaint says.

PCB contamination flowed into the Bluestone River, the EPA says. Work at the site was completed in June 2010.

Until 1958, National Electric Coil Company owned the site. McGraw Edison Company purchased it and owned it until 1985.

In 1985, McGraw-Edison became a wholly owned subsidiary of C-I Acquisition Company, which was a wholly owned subsidiary of Cooper Industries.

In 1988, the site was conveyed to the Greater Bluefield Community Center, which sold it to Lindon Taylor and Carol Taylor.

The Taylors, owners of Lin-Electric, owned the site until 2003. It was purchased in a foreclosure sale in 2006 by two brothers.

The consent decree will be published in the Federal Register and open for public comment for 30 days.

From the West Virginia Record: Reach John O’Brien at jobrienwv@gmail.com.

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