U.S. EPA files $16 M suit for Waste Disposal, Inc. cleanup costs

Aug. 11, 2004

In an effort to recover approximately $16 million in cleanup costs incurred by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency at the Waste Disposal, Inc. Superfund Site, located in Santa Fe Springs, Calif. near Los Angeles, the U.S. Department of Justice has filed a suit against Powerine Oil Company, CENCO Refining Company, and Energy Merchant Corporation, in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California.

    The complaint alleges that Powerine disposed of hazardous substances at the Waste Disposal, Inc. site from its refinery operations and is liable to EPA under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and  Liability Act for costs that EPA has spent to cleanup the Site.

    The EPA has spent approximately $16 million in unreimbursed cleanup costs at  the WDI Site to investigate and characterize the contamination at the former landfill and to oversee design and cleanup work.

    "Given that the EPA has spent millions cleaning up the Waste Disposal Inc. site, we think it is only fair and reasonable that the companies  involved reimburse these expenses," said Keith Takata, the EPA's Superfund division director for the Pacific Southwest region.

    The EPA is also suing CENCO as the successor to Powerine; CENCO purchased  Powerine's Santa Fe Springs refinery in 1998 and agreed to be responsible for Powerine's environmental liabilities at the WDI Site.

    The complaint also seeks a remedy against Powerine and its parent corporation, Energy Merchant Corporation, under the Federal Debt  Collection Procedures Act, for fraudulently transferring all of Powerine's assets to EMC, leaving Powerine unable to pay the United States' cleanup costs.

Source: EPA