In April, a federal judge ruled against Trinity Industries in a suit against Chicago Bridge and Iron Co. over who’s financially responsible for the cleanup at the Hempfield Township brownfield that both companies used as a mill site.
The buck didn’t stop there for Dallas-based Trinity, which filed a similar suit recently in Mercer County Common Pleas Court against CB&I, seeking unspecified bucks to go toward paying for the cleanup of the site.
No one disputes the site is contaminated according to state Department of Environmental Protection. standards.
Trinity alleges CB&I, which operated a plant at the site at the end of York Street in Hempfield Township, long before Trinity’s association with the property.
CB&I “handled, stored, located, placed, used, discharged and disposed of paints, abrasives, solvents, pesticides and other products” at the site from 1911 until 1982, according to the lawsuit.
But it’s Trinity that is under court order to clean up the area, along with another one in Greenville, where the railcar maker operated plants from 1986 to 2000.
The cleanup is part of a plea agreement between Trinity and the state Attorney General’s office reached in 2006 after Trinity was charged with illegally dumping hazardous wastes there.
Cleanup costs aren’t yet known, but Trinity alleges CB&I, which operated a plant at the Hempfield Township site prior to 1986, should be liable for a portion of the cleanup costs because it contributed to the contamination at the site, according to the lawsuit.
Trinity is working with an outside environmental firm to develop a cleanup plan and a time-line for such a cleanup hasn’t yet been set.
Residents, business and government officials have leaned on Trinity to speed up the process, to no avail.
“It’s an eyesore,” Greenville Area Chamber of Commerce spokesman Fred Kiser has said.
At the height of operations in the mid-1990s, more than 1,000 people worked at Trinity’s Greenville-area plants, which were shuttered in 2000.
For four years after that a group calling itself Commerce Park of Greenville scrapped what was salvageable at the plant sites. Trinity re-acquired the property in 2008 after it reached the settlement with the state AG’s office to clean up the sites, which have been untouched since.