The Gary/Chicago International Airport Authority has sued Honeywell International, Inc., seeking compensation for cleanup costs related to hazardous waste that contaminated its property. The lawsuit, filed in Indiana federal court, alleges that the company is responsible for an estimated $2.5 million in past and future cleanup costs pursuant to the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act. Various hazardous wastes, including petroleum constituents and volatile organic compounds, allegedly migrated onto the airport’s property and spread to groundwater and into an adjoining ditch.
The Authority’s lawsuit is the most recent action in an ongoing effort to remedy contaminated property adjacent to the airport. The Conservation Chemical Company of Illinois (CCCI) operated a 4.1-acre parcel next to the airport’s main runway until 1985. Shortly after CCCI vacated the premises, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) tried to clean up contaminated soil and groundwater at the site. The EPA named Honeywell as a potential responsible party since it discharged these chemicals onto CCCI’s former site.
The EPA’s efforts did not include off-site groundwater or the Boeing Ditch, which eventually discharges into the Grand Calumet River. In 2014, the Indiana Department of Environmental Management required the Authority to investigate and mitigate this offsite contamination. Thus far, it has spent $500,000 and expects future costs to total more than $2 million.
The Authority has struggled to keep the airport property free of hazardous chemicals. Two years ago, it sued former owners of land annexed by the Authority that was formerly a storage site for hazardous chemicals when. The Authority incurred almost $2 million to address those concerns.
Sources: Law360.com and Chicago Tribune
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