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Islip, Town of v. Datre

ELR Citation: 47 ELR 20049
Nos. 16-CV-2156, (E.D.N.Y., 03/28/2017) (Bianco, J.)

A district court held that defendants responsible for dumping hazardous waste in a town park were not liable under CERCLA because they did not know of the hazardous nature of the material dumped. In 2013, a church pastor requested permission to replace and seed the topsoil of one of the park's soccer fields at its own expense. The town commission granted the church permission. Sometime after church volunteers were seen spreading seed over most of the soccer field, a truck owned by a disposal company was seen dumping debris onto the field. The church ceased repairing the field. The dumping continued until it was discovered that one load had large boulders and broken glass. After testing the soil it was discovered that it contained asbestos and other harmful agents. The town sued the disposal company as "arrangers" and the church as an "owner or operator" under CERCLA for the dumping. The court dismissed the charges as the town did not allege facts that demonstrated that the "arrangers" knew or should have known about the hazardous nature of the debris. Further, the church did not exercise enough control over the park to be an "owner" under CERCLA.