Cooper Drum CERCLA Suit Filed in Los Angeles
The Cooper Drum Cooperating Parties Group (CDCPG), a coalition of chemical and energy companies, filed suit under the Comprehensive Environmental Response Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA) in California federal court last week. The lawsuit seeks to force numerous other companies to contribute to the cleanup of hazardous substances at a 2.4-acre former drum reconditioning facility located outside of Los Angeles. The Cooper Drum Co. operated the facility from 1974 to 1993 reconditioning 55-gallon steel drums that contained hazardous substances. Wastes from the reconditioning process were allegedly collected in open concrete pits and trenches on the Cooper Drum Co. site which the EPA has alleged resulted in the contamination of the soils and groundwater.
The CDCPG claims that, despite having already spent $12 million on the cleanup, they aren’t the only companies responsible. The members of the CDCPG voluntarily entered into a consent decree with both the EPA and the California Department of Toxic Substances Control in 2016 and claims they are entitled to seek relief from other potentially responsible parties. The CDCPG estimates it will cost another $15 million to clean up the Cooper Drum Site and argues that neighbors and approximately 20 other customers of the reconditioning operation need to contribute to the cleanup efforts under CERCLA. According to the CDCPG, other customers arranged for the disposal of hazardous substances at the Cooper Drum Co. facilities and “mirrored, in all relevant respects, that of the CDCPG members.”