The owners of an industrial site in Cornwall, Orange County, have agreed to reimburse the state Department of Environmental Conservation for most of the costs of testing for contaminants that were ultimately found to be within acceptable levels.
Last year the state sued Moodna Creek Development Ltd., Cornwall Warehousing Inc. and SR II Inc. in federal court for the costs it incurred in assessing hazardous wastes at 2 Mill St. DEC claimed it had spent $173,692, from 1988 to through 2017, to determine the risks that the contaminants posed to people and the environment.
Isaac Landau of Monroe and Sandor Landau of Brooklyn, the principals in the companies, agreed on April 11 to pay $110,000 – 63 percent – of the state’s costs. The state agreed to release them and their companies from liability.
The 70-acre property on Moodna Creek includes light industrial buildings, warehouses and two lagoons used for storing hazardous wastes. Textiles were manufactured on the site from the 1820s to the 1990s. Majestic Weaving Co., for instance, made wool carpets until it went out of business around 1993 and, according to the state, had discharged hazardous chemicals into the lagoons.
The Landaus have had interests in the site since the late 1980s, the state has said.
In the 1980s the federal Environmental Protection Agency detected toluene, a solvent that can cause brain damage, in the lagoons. DEC detected high levels of copper, zinc, iron and chromium. It found leaking drums and torn liners in the lagoons and monitoring wells that were in poor condition.
The DEC had initially determined that the site “posed a very great threat to the environment.” In 2014, the state concluded that the levels of contamination in the lagoons were acceptable for commercial or industrial uses.
“The extent of testing was grandiose,” the Landaus argued three months ago in their answer to the DEC’s lawsuit, and the costs were “unwarranted and/or excessive.”