Niagara Gazette

July 31, 2013

Greenpac suit seeks $50M in damages over claims of radioactive material found on Royal Ave. site

By Justin Sondel
Niagara Gazette

Niagara Gazette — The owners of a new liner board manufacturing mill off 47th Street have filed a lawsuit in federal court claiming they encountered significant issues with contaminated soil during the facility’s construction.

In a lawsuit filed in United States District Court in Buffalo, Greenpac Mill, LLC has asked the court for $50 million in damages related to the remediation of radioactive material the company claims it found in the soil on the grounds of the newly-opened Royal Avenue mill. The claim names as defendants three entities with previous ties to the property, including Occidental Chemical Corp., Kimberly-Clark Corp. and National Grid and National Grid U.S. Service Co.

The suit alleges that Greenpac contractors found radioactive material in the soil while remediating the site as part of the state’s Brownfield Clean Up Program. In August of 2011, radiation detectors on three trucks transporting the soil to the landfill were triggered, “indicating that excess levels of radioactivity were contained in the soil being transported,” according the complaint on file with the court.

“Over 20,000 tons of radiologically impacted soils were ultimately removed and disposed of at a permitted landfill in Michigan at a cost to Greenpac in excess of $6 million,” according to the documents.

Greenpac opened the new $430 million mill in mid July after two years of construction, during which no concerns over radioactive materials on the site were made public.

Steve Brady, the media relations manager at National Grid, said the company had not been served with the lawsuit, and so was not in a position to comment on the allegations.

Representatives from Greenpac and Occidental Chemical acknowledged that they had received inquiries from the Gazette, but did not respond to requests for comment Tuesday.

Kimberly-Clark did not respond to a request for comment Tuesday.

The suit goes on to allege that National Grid and Kimberly-Clark or their predecessors contributed to the contamination, either polluting the site themselves or allowing other companies, including Occidental Chemical, to dump radioactive materials on the site.

Eric Moses, a spokesman for Occidental, said the company had not been served in the lawsuit, and so offered no comment.

Greenpac’s complaint alleges that National Grid and Kimberly-Clark “disposed of, discharged, released, and otherwise arranged for the disposal of radioactive hazardous substances and wastes in various locations at 4400 Royal and/or arranged with (Occidental) or others to do so.”

Greenpac further claims the company “also suffered, is suffering, and will suffer substantial damages and injury with regard to loss of value of its property and other compensatory property damages,” because of the actions and omissions of the defendants. The company hopes to recover the full amount of $50 million, which would include compensation for legal fees incurred during the litigation of the suit, according to the complaint.




Contact reporter Justin Sondel at 282-2311, ext. 2257