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EPA recovers $1.75 million for Agency costs at Connecticut cleanup site

08/08/2019
Contact Information: 
Emily Bender (bender.emily@epa.gov)
617-918-1037

BOSTON - The U.S Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today announced that it has recovered $1.75 million in cleanup costs in settling a lawsuit against several parties, including the owner of a burnt-out building in Bridgeport, Conn., where EPA performed an extensive environmental cleanup in 2015 and 2016. The building owner, 25 Grant Street, LLC, and four individuals recently settled with the federal government for costs EPA incurred to cleanup leaking and damaged drums that contained various hazardous substances, which were the result of a large fire at the company's facility in Bridgeport in September 2014.

"The money recovered in this case will be returned to the United States government for the benefit of the people we serve," said EPA New England acting Regional Administrator Deb Szaro. "This case shows that EPA is committed to holding accountable those who attempt to circumvent their cleanup responsibilities and the laws that protect the financial interest of the government and the American taxpayers."

On June 3, the U.S. Department of Justice filed on EPA's behalf a consent decree in the U.S. District Court for the District of Connecticut that resolved claims against 25 Grant Street, LLC, for cost recovery under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) and against 25 Grant Street, LLC and four individual members of the LLC, for fraudulent transfers under the Federal Debt Collection Procedures Act (FDCPA) and the Federal Priority Statute related to the Grant Street Fire Superfund site.

After being informed of EPA's planned actions to clean up the hazardous substances released by the fire at its facility, 25 Grant Street, LLC, made numerous cash distributions of insurance proceeds received for losses from the fire, making it insolvent. EPA notified the company that such transfers of funds could violate the FDCPA, and in February 2018, the Justice Department filed suit against 25 Grant Street, LLC, and its four controlling individual members. In addition to cost recovery claims under CERCLA, a complaint filed by DOJ alleged that the defendants impermissibly transferred and/or received proceeds recovered from fire insurance policies following the fire at the site in contravention of the FDCPA, including an allegation that the transfers were made with "actual intent to hinder, delay, or defraud" the United States.

The approximately six-acre site is located at 25 Grant Street, Bridgeport, Conn., and contained two buildings prior to a fire in September 2014. The site has been owned by 25 Grant Street, LLC, since 2003.

To learn more about EPA's Superfund cost recovery efforts, go to https://www.epa.gov/enforcement/superfund-cost-recovery.