NEW YORK (AP) — New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo is suing three chemical companies and a defunct dry-cleaning supply business over the contamination of several drinking water wells.
The suit, filed in federal court in Brooklyn, is an attempt to recover at least some of the $30 million the city and state expect to spend cleaning up an underground plume of the dry cleaning chemical perchloroethylene, or PCE, believed to have leaked from a former distribution facility in the Jamaica section of Queens.
The distributor, the West Side Corp., ceased operations at the site in 1990, but the chemical was found to have infiltrated the soil and groundwater throughout the neighborhood.
The contaminated areas included several public drinking water wells that had been out of use since 1982, and are now permanently closed due to pollution.
Cuomo is suing West Side as well as three companies that supplied it with PCE: Dow Chemical, PPG Industries and the Ethyl Corp.
The lawsuit said the companies contributed to the environmental mess by failing to ensure that PCE was properly contained after they delivered it. West Side, which took shipments by truck and rail, stored the chemical in five 10,000 gallon storage tanks.
A spokesman for Dow declined to comment. Officials at PPG Industries, Ethyl Corp. and its parent company, NewMarket, did not immediately return phone and e-mail messages. West Side's owner did not immediately respond to a phone message. The property is now a parking facility for buses.