Corporate Fight Lets Toxics Flow to Long Island Sound

HARTFORD, Connecticut, April 17, 2008 (ENS) – Connecticut officials are seeking an order against two disputing companies whose inaction and ongoing argument they allege is allowing PCB contamination to jeopardize Bridgeport Harbor and Long Island Sound.

Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal and Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Gina McCarthy said Monday that the state has requested a temporary injunction against The Sergy Company LLC and Magnetek, Inc.

Sergy is the current owner, and Magnetek the successor to a company that formerly manufactured capacitors at the property located at 902 Crescent Ave., Bridgeport.

For many years, polychlorinated biphenyls, PCBs, were stored and used at the property. The property is now vacant, but heavily contaminated with PCBs from years of industrial use.

The dispute between the parties concerns the operation of a groundwater treatment system on the property. Both parties are responsible for ongoing contamination remediation at the site.

Blumenthal said, “A dirty corporate dispute is discharging dirty water.”

“These two companies – Sergy and Magnetek – have illegally abandoned their duty to decontaminate the Bridgeport property,” said the attorney general.

A portion of Bridgeport Harbor
(Photo courtesy Wikipedia: Iracaz)

“We cannot accept their suspending a vital groundwater treatment system and allowing PCB-contaminated water to spew into Bridgeport Harbor and Long Island Sound,” Blumenthal said. “No matter who wins the corporate wrangle, the public loses – because water is contaminated with PCBs illegally.”

Sergy and Magnetek have been embroiled in a dispute that has lasted for weeks over who is responsible for paying the electric costs of operating a pump and treatment system necessary to remove and contain groundwater severely contaminated by PCBs and other toxic substances.

The unresolved dispute and suspended treatment system has allowed ground water contaminated with PCBs to discharge into the Yellow Mill Channel, which is part of Bridgeport Harbor, and then into Long Island Sound, jeopardizing fishing areas.

DEP Commissioner McCarthy said, “These companies need to get their act together and get this situation resolved now. Allowing the discharge of PCB-contaminated water into Bridgeport Harbor and Long Island Sound is not acceptable and will not be tolerated. Whatever the disputes, we are requiring immediate action.”

Bridgeport is located along Long Island Sound, at the mouth of the Pequonnock River. The harbor is formed by the estuary of the Pequonnock River and Yellow Mill Pond, an inlet. Between the estuary and the pond is a peninsula, East Bridgeport, which once hosted some of the largest manufacturing establishments in Connecticut. Today, most of them no longer exist.

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