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Camden Iron & Metal sues former site owners

Keywords: Tags  scrapyard, Camden Iron & Metal, Eastern Metal Recycling, European Metal Recycling, Anthony Dawson, Morris Freedman, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, Lisa Gordon

PITTSBURGH — Camden Iron & Metal Inc. is suing the former owners of its scrapyard in Albany County, N.Y., in an effort to force them to pay for environmental remediation efforts at the site.

Camden Iron & Metal filed the suit against Anthony Dawson of Latham, N.Y., and Morris Freedman of Woodstock, N.Y., under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (Cercla), according to documents filed April 30 in U.S. District Court in New York.

When Camden Iron & Metal purchased the Green Island, N.Y., facility in 2010, Dawson and Freedman signed an agreement stating that the new owner would not be held liable for cleanup costs from previous activities on the site, according to the filing.

The former owners used the site as a salvage yard and an automobile recycling facility from 1973 to 2010, as well as a locomotive repair shop from 2000 to 2010, according to court documents. Petroleum and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) leached into the soil and groundwater as a result of those activities, the lawsuit alleges.

In the 1980s, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation placed the property on a registry of inactive hazardous waste disposal sites, according to the suit. After two failed attempts to have the property removed from the list, the operation—then named R. Freedman & Son Inc.—entered into a consent order in 1998. The facility entered into a second consent order in 2003 after allegedly failing to make good on the first one, according to court documents.

Camden, N.J.-based Camden Iron & Metal, a subsidiary of Warrington, England-based Eastern Metal Recycling Ltd. (EMR), has incurred and will continue to incur costs associated with the remediation of the 12-acre facility, according to court documents. Otherwise, the company faces penalties and state enforcement action.

The company told the court that the former owners deny any responsibility. It is asking the court to force the former owners to pay for completed, ongoing and future remediation efforts. Camden Iron & Metal did not provide an estimate of those costs.

Neither Dawson nor Freedman could not be reached for comment.

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