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United States v. A&F Materials Co.

Citation: 14 ELR 20432
No. No. 83-3123, 582 F. Supp. 842/20 ERC 1957/(S.D. Ill., 03/30/1984) Ruling on sale as disposal

The court rules that sale of a hazardous substance to a chemical recycler for use and disposal at the recycler's facility constitutes arranging for the disposal of hazardous substances at a facility containing such substances under § 107 of the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA). Defendant McDonnell Douglas Corp., who sold spend caustic etch solution to A & F for use in neutralizing acidic recycled oil, moved for summary judgment on its liability under § 107. The court first holds that there is an unresolved material issue of fact concerning whether the etch solution is a hazardous substance. "Hazardous substances" under CERCLA § 101(14) include all "hazardous wastes" under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA). McDonnell concedes that the solution is hazardous under RCRA; the government contends the solution "has served its original intended purpose and sometimes is discarded," making it a waste under the RCRA regulations. The court finds conflicting evidence over whether the solution was sometimes discarded.

The court then holds that McDonnell arranged for the disposal or treatment of the solution at the site. The fact that the site operator purchased the solution is irrelevant; by deciding to place the solution in the hands of the operator of a site where hazardous substances are disposed, McDonnell brought itself within the broad liability language of CERCLA § 107(a)(3).

Counsel are listed at 14 ELR 20105.