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August 19, 2019Cart

Business

by Westchester County Business Journal
by WCBJ

Hopewell Precision and former owner agree to $1.2M Superfund payments

An East Fishkill fabricating company and its former owner have consented to paying more than $1.2 million to the federal government for cleaning up an environmental Superfund site in Dutchess County.

U.S. Attorney Geoffrey S. Berman filed a civil complaint and consent orders against Hopewell Precision Inc. and John B. Budd on July 19 in federal court in Manhattan, on behalf of the Environmental Protection Agency.

Budd and Hopewell Precision admitted responsibility for dumping toxic chemicals into the soil from 1976 to 1980 that contaminated the groundwater and polluted private wells used by 66 homes.

The EPA has spent $22 million since 2003 and expects to spends millions more remediating the environmental damages. The settlements by Budd and Hopewell Precision amount to less than 6% of the costs thus far.

Budd founded Hopewell Precision in 1972, according to court documents, set up shop on Ryan Drive in East Fishkill, sold the business in 1991, and is still the landlord.

The company fabricates metal products for telecommunications, broadcasting, medical uses and the military.

Hopewell Precision cleaned machine parts by dipping them into a vapor degreasing machine that used trichloroethene, a hazardous chemical solvent also known as TCE.

From 1976 to 1980, according to the consent agreements, employees drained oil, dirt and solvent sludge from the degreasing machine onto the ground behind the factory. They also dumped paints and other chemicals.

TCE leached into the groundwater, formed a plume that migrated 1½ miles to the southwest and contaminated private wells used by more than 150 people.

The EPA has supplied bottled water to residents whose wells were polluted and has installed treatment and monitoring systems. It is still working on restoring the aquifer and building an alternative water supply.

The Superfund law allows the government to recover from polluters the costs of cleaning up and remediating contaminated sites.

Budd, of Orange, California, consented to paying the EPA $963,750 and Hopewell Precision President Richard H. Skeen agreed for the company to pay $283,950.

The action was filed by Rachael L. Doud and Dominka Tarczynska, assistant U.S. attorneys, and Ellen M. Mahan, deputy chief of the Department of Justice environmental enforcement office.