United States Files Superfund Suit for Reimbursement of Cleanup Costs and Penalties at a Contaminated Site in Levittown, New York
Former Location of American Drive-In Cleaners Dry Cleaning Operations
The United States filed a civil complaint today in federal court in Central Islip, New York, against the THE KASPER (1977) IRREVOCABLE TRUSTS FOR THE BENEFIT OF CHARLES B. KASPER AND RICHARD J. KASPER (“Kasper Trust”); SANDERINA R. KASPER, AS TRUSTEE OF THE KASPER TRUST (“Kasper Trustee”); MARTIN STALLER; and PARVIZ NEZAMI seeking over $1.7 million to reimburse EPA for money it has spent to remove and dispose of hazardous substances at the former location of the American Drive-In Cleaners in Levittown. The complaint also seeks penalties and punitive damages from the Kasper Trust and the Kasper Trustee for their failure to cooperate with the government in its cleanup efforts.
The case was announced by Benton J. Campbell, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, and Alan J. Steinberg, Regional Administrator, United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Region 2.
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. The Kasper Trust, of which Sanderina Kasper is Trustee, is the current owner of the property, Martin Staller previously owned the property, and Parviz Nezami is a former operator of the dry-cleaning business. Current and former property owners, as well as operators at the time of disposal of hazardous substances, are jointly and severally liable under CERCLA to pay for the cleanup of the contaminated property.
High concentrations in the soils at the property of perchloroethylene (PCE), a hazardous substance used in the former dry cleaning operations, contaminated the indoor air in the buildings on and adjacent to the site. Chronic exposure to PCE at the levels found in the indoor air at the location could cause adverse health effects to exposed individuals. To treat this indoor air contamination, EPA installed a soil vapor extraction system and a sub-slab ventilation system to prevent contaminated vapors from entering these buildings.
“Protecting the public and our environment from the dangers of toxic waste is an enforcement priority of this Office,” stated United States Attorney Campbell. “This case is one of a number filed in this district 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.”
“We made great progress in cleaning up the American Drive-In Cleaners site, removing the immediate threats by getting rid of over 4,000 pounds of perchloroethylene from underneath the site,” said EPA Regional Administrator Steinberg. “This complaint sends the message that EPA will pursue polluters and compel them to reimburse our costs and comply with orders issued to them.”
The government’s case is being litigated by Assistant United States Attorney Sandra L. Levy and Assistant Regional Counsel Sharon Kivowitz of EPA.
The Department of Justice believes that it is important to keep victims/witnesses of federal crime informed of court proceedings and what services may be available to assist you.