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Hill, Inc. v. Whitemarsh Township Auth.

ELR Citation: 31 ELR 20167
Nos. No. 96-5648, (E.D. Pa., 10/02/2000)

A court holds that under the Pennsylvania Hazardous Sites Clean-Up Act (HSCA), the owner of property once used for a landfill may not recover from previous owners the costs of testing the property for hazardous substances. The court first holds that the previous owners are responsible parties within the meaning of the HSCA. However, the court next holds that there has not been a release or threatened release from the property into the environment. The current owner failed to demonstrate that hazardous substances from the property are leaching from the landfill into the groundwater. Although testing indicated elevated levels of a hazardous substance in the groundwater below the property, the mere presence of a hazardous substance in groundwater does not establish that it was released from the property. The court also holds that the costs incurred by the current owner are not response costs under the HSCA. The costs were related either to the development of the property or to litigation, rather than as a response to a perceived release of hazardous substances. Last, the court holds that future remedial measures at the site are not warranted. The state agency will not require a cleanup of the property, nor is one required under any Pennsylvania law or regulation.

The full text of this decision is available from ELR (37 pp., ELR Order No. L-281).

[Counsel not available at this printing.]