Jim Boyle Oct. 10, 2014, 10:52am


An Illinois-based oil recycling and refining company says a Nazareth, Pa. cement manufacturer owes it approximately $200,000 for the disposal of materials containing an excessive amount of PCB chemicals.

Representatives from Heritage-Crystal Clean (HCC) say that Essroc Cement Corporation breached its contract by loading barrels of used oil containing chemicals regulated under the Toxic Substances Control Act, forcing the plaintiff's Indianapolis recycling plant to pay for the remediation and disposal of the materials.

According to the complaint, HCC and Essroc entered into an agreement in July 2012 that had HCC removing used oil from Essroc's cement plant in Nazareth. Per the agreement, the oil had to be clean and free of any material regulated by the Toxic Substances Control Act, especially PCBs.

From 1929 to 1979, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) were used fro industrial applications because of its chemical stability, high boiling point and electrical insulation properties. However, research showed that when PCBs released into the atmosphere, either through manufacturing processes or spillage, the chemicals did not break down easily and remained in the atmosphere, leading to health risks. In 1979, the federal government banned the manufacture of PCBs and imposed strict guidelines for disposing of the chemicals under the Toxic Substances Control Act.

According to the TSCA, used oil containing PCBs at 50 parts per million or more must be destroyed in an approved incinerator, costing as much as $5 per gallon, the complaint says.

The claim says that in August 2012, Essroc completed a survey form that said its used hydraulic oil did not contain PCBs and had not been mixed with hazardous waste. At the end of the month, HCC made a pick-up of used oil at the Nazareth plant, pumping the material from Essroc's drums into a truck. The driver took a sample from each container, a standard practice used to keep track of which clients supplied particular materials, the complaint says.

The shipment was loaded onto an HCC railcar in Fairless Hills, Pa., and transported to the Indianapolis plant, arriving Sept. 26, 2012, where tests were performed to determine the presence of any PCBs. The results came back positive for the presence of PCBs in one of the containers, and an investigation into the samples and paperwork determined that the offending substance originated at Essroc, according to the complaint.

HCC sent an invoice to Essroc totaling $195,958 for the sampling, testing, decontamination of the transport vehicles and the remediation and off-site destruction of the PCB. Essroc has ignored HCC's requests for reimbursement, the claim says, violating the terms of the contract that said Essroc would not hold HCC responsible for the disposal of PCBs and other hazardous materials.

The plaintiffs are represented by attorneys from Fox Rothschild in Philadelphia.

The federal case ID is 5:14-cv-05687-JLS.

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