New Windsor taking firm to court in pollution dispute

Source:, February 5, 2011
By: Michael Randall

The town is going to federal court to force a company to clean up ground water contamination allegedly from a manufacturing plant the firm sold 20 years ago.

The parties have a court date Feb. 17.

The alleged contamination is in Little Falls Park in the Ducktown area — site of one of a number of former town wells and other water sources New Windsor hopes to reactivate to supplement its main supply, New York City’s Catskill Aqueduct.

Town Attorney Michael Blythe said there are two volatile organic compounds in the ground water there — trichloroethylene and trichloroethane.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, the compounds are used in degreasing and other manufacturing processes. Both can cause liver problems, and trichloroethylene is also a suspected cancer-causing agent.

The town says the contamination came from the former Dennison Monarch Systems plant, which made computer workstations, filing cabinets and color-coded filing systems. Its parent company, Avery Dennison, sold the plant on MacArthur Avenue in July of 1991, and the new owner closed it for good about two years later.

Blythe said negotiations with the company have been unsuccessful.

“We’re relatively confident at some point (the company) will accept responsibility for the pollution,” Blythe said.

Avery Dennison spokesman David Frail said the company does not comment on pending litigation, but it does take such matters seriously and “has a policy of promptly addressing any environmental issues of which it is made aware.”

“The company has been working with the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation for a number of years to address possible concerns at the New Windsor site,” Frail added.

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