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Kelley v. John A. Biewer Co.

Citation: 12 ELR 20515
No. No. D 803 00 318 CE, (Mich. Cir. Ct., 11/25/1981)

The court levies $85,500 in civil penalties against the owner of a lumber treatment plant for violating the Michigan Environmental Protection Act (PEA), the Water Resources Commission Act (WRCA), and the common law of nuisance. Between 1970 and 1979, defendant spilled and pumped chemicals, including chromium nd arsenic, onto the ground at the plant site, resulting in pollution of the groundwater under and around the site. Initially, the court rules that plaintiffs were not required to exhaust their administrative remedies under the EPA and the WRCA and that plaintiffs have pleaded a cause of action in nuisance. Next, the court finds that the groundwater of the State of Michigan is a natural resource and rules that defendant's activities violated the EPA, the WRCA, and the common law of nuisance. The court proceeds to impose civil penalties against defendant and orders defendant to remove the soil beneath the site's unpaved areas, purge the plume of pollution, and pay for extension of the village water supply.

Counsel for Plaintiffs
Stewart Freeman
Office of the Attorney General
7th Floor, Law Bldg., Lansing MI 48913
(517) 373-1110

Counsel for Defendant
Richard D. Reed
Bauckham, Reed, Lang, Schaefer & Travis
500 Park Bldg., 132 W. South St., Kalamazoo MI 49007
(616) 382-4500