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United States Files Superfund Suit for Reimbursement of Cleanup Costs at a Groundwater Contamination Site in Great Neck, New York Former Location of Stanton Cleaners Dry Cleaning Operations

Release Date: 03/30/2005
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(#05027) NEW YORK -- ROSLYNN R. MAUSKOPF, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, and KATHLEEN C. CALLAHAN, Acting Regional Administrator, United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Region 2, today announced the filing of a complaint in federal court in Central Islip, New York, against the ESTATE OF LILLIAN WIESNER, JOHN MAFFEI, and 0.25 ACRES OF LAND, MORE OR LESS, the property in Great Neck, New York, on which Stanton Cleaners, Inc. formerly carried out dry cleaning operations. In the complaint, the government seeks over $7.5 million to reimburse EPA for money it has spent to remove and dispose of hazardous substances used in the former dry cleaning operations. The complaint was brought under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act ("CERCLA"), commonly known as Superfund, which was passed by Congress to help clean up abandoned toxic waste sites across the country.

"Protecting the public and our environment from the dangers of toxic waste is an enforcement priority of this Office," stated United States Attorney ROSLYNN R. MAUSKOPF. "This case is one in a series filed in this district in the past year to ensure compliance with CERCLA and other environmental statutes, and it represents another step forward in our mission to ensure that those responsible for causing or contributing to hazardous waste sites are held accountable."

The indoor air, soil and groundwater at and near the property have become contaminated with perchloroethylene (PCE). EPA has installed soil vapor extraction systems to treat soil and indoor air contamination; a sub-slab ventilation system at a building next door to prevent contaminated vapors from entering that building; a groundwater collection, treatment and disposal system, which is still being operated; and groundwater monitoring wells. EPA has also disposed of the underground storage tanks and their contents discovered at the site.

"We've made great progress in cleaning up the Stanton Cleaners site, and we are continuing that work to protect people's health," said Acting EPA Regional Administrator KATHLEEN C. CALLAHAN. "We've removed over 16,000 pounds of perchloroethylene from underneath the site, and treated over 90 million gallons of contaminated groundwater. This complaint sends the message that EPA will pursue polluters and compel them to reimburse our costs."

Lillian Wiesner, now deceased, was an owner of the property on which the drycleaning operations were carried out. Accordingly, reimbursement is sought from her ESTATE. The government is also suing JOHN MAFFEI, who is a long-term leaseholder of the property and who, according to the complaint, is a de facto owner of the property. The government is also foreclosing on liens it has placed on the property, 0.25 ACRES OF LAND, MORE OR LESS, LOCATED AT 110 CUTTER MILL ROAD, GREAT NECK, NEW YORK.

The government's case is being litigated by Assistant United States Attorney Robert B. Kambic and Assistant Regional Counsel Liliana Villatora of EPA.