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United States v. Wade

Citation: 14 ELR 20440
No. No. 79-1426, (E.D. Pa., 04/27/1984) "Hazardous substance" construed

The court holds that waste fuel oil sludge and biological sludge are not, as a matter of law, excluded from the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act's (CERCLA's) definition of "hazardous substance" simply because, as to the former, CERCLA exempts petroleum, and as to the latter, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has determined that it is not a hazardous waste under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA). Ruling on cross-motions for summary judgment on the liability of a third-party defendant, the court notes that defendants failed to establish any link between two of the third-party defendant's wastes and the Wade site. The court reiterates its conclusion that proving a party had dealings with a waste hauler that sometimes took wastes to the site is insufficient to prove CERCLA liability. The court rejects third-party defendant's motion for summary judgment, however, ruling it had failed to demonstrate that as a matter of law, its two remaining wastes were not hazardous substances under CERCLA. As to fuel oil sludge, which contains hazardous substances, the court notes the need for further evidence to determine the relationship between the hazardous constituents of the sludge and those normal to fuel oil. As to the biological sludge, the court finds that it too contains hazardous substances and it was listed as hazardous under RCRA when disposed. Therefore it might fall within CERCLA's coverage even though EPA had since delisted it under RCRA. Finally, the court rules that there is an issue of fact as to whether the sludges were in fact disposed of at the Wade site.

[Related decisions are published at 12 ELR 21051, 13 ELR 20815, 14 ELR 20096, 14 ELR 20435, 14 ELR 20436, 14 ELR 20437, 14 ELR 20439, and 14 ELR 20441 — Ed.]

Counsel are listed at 14 ELR 20096.