Jump to Navigation
Jump to Content

United States v. Farber

ELR Citation: 18 ELR 20854
Nos. No. 86-3736, 27 ERC 1978/(D.N.J., 03/16/1988)

The court rules that the seller of hazardous substances that are not wastes can be held liable under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA), but the mere sale of a hazardous substance by the supplier of raw materials to a company that used those ingredients in a manufacturing process does not expose the supplier to CERCLA liability. The court first rules that the phrase "arranged for disposal or treatment . . . of hazardous substances" in CERCLA §107(a)(3) is not limited to hazardous wastes listed pursuant to the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA). Although CERCLA incorporates RCRA's definitions of "disposal" and "treatment," it would ignore CERCLA's broad regulation of hazardous substance releases to interpret that statute as being limited to RCRA's more specific definition of hazardous wastes. Moreover, Congress' explicit use of the word "substance" reflects its desire to preclude manufacturers from disposing of their hazardous substances and then denying liability. The court then rules that the mere sale of a hazardous substance that serves as the raw material in a manufacturing process does not expose the seller to CERCLA liability. The court holds, however, that the seller in this case may have treated the chemicals, within the meaning of CERCLA §107(a)(3), prior to their use as an ingredient.

Counsel for Plaintiff
Susan Cassell
502 Federal Bldg., 970 Broad St., Newark NJ 07102
(201) 621-2700

Counsel for Defendant-Third Party Plaintiff
David P. Schneider
Bressler, Amery & Ross
44 Whippany Rd., Morristown NJ 07960
(201) 267-7200