CERCLA Suit by New Hampshire Against McCord over VOC Contamination

The state of New Hampshire has sued McCord Corporation, alleging violations of the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) over environmental damage that McCord’s subsidiary (then named Davidson Rubber, Inc.), allegedly caused at its factory.

According to the complaint, between 1966 and 2006, Davidson Rubber’s manufacture of  instrument panels, bumpers, fascias, and other automobile parts created a number of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that entered into a tributary of the Pokamoonshine Brook, as well as the surrounding groundwater.

The state alleges that in November 1971, McCord’s manager of safety and ecology filed a report detailing five actions that should have been taken to address the VOCs draining into waters surrounding the Farmington plant. The complaint states that four of those actions were implemented, but the fifth was deemed infeasible. For years afterward, reports from Farmington complained of “unsightly” and “malodorous” water flowing from the plant. 

The complaint claims that in 1973, Davidson Rubber asked McCord for funds to conduct an engineering study to build a wastewater treatment facility. Davidson Rubber allegedly received these funds, and in 1974, their consultant submitted a report detailing several options, one of which was a lagoon system to filter contaminated wastewater into the ground. This option was apparently deemed the most cost-effective, but could result in greater groundwater contamination. In 1975, the lagoon was completed, and two years later, Davidson Rubber expanded the factory, including a sewage waste disposal system with a leach field.

The state claims that their Department of Environmental Services has spent $166,000 remedying the contamination by cleaning these hazardous wastes deposited between 1966 and 1977. The state seeks reimbursement for these expenses under CERCLA and the National Oil and Hazardous Substances Pollution Contingency Plan.

The complaint was filed in the District of New Hampshire by New Hampshire Attorney General John Formella.