Source: https://westfaironline.com, November 15, 2018
By: Bill Heltzel
A Breslin Realty Development Corp. affiliate is suing Chevron Corp. for $1.2 million, claiming that the oil company misrepresented the extent of soil and water contamination at an abandoned gas station in Yorktown where the developer is building a Lowe’s home improvement store.
Yorktown JAZ LLC of Garden City filed the lawsuit Oct. 26 in Westchester Supreme Court. The complaint names four Chevron subsidiaries as defendants: Chevron Environment Management Co., Texaco Inc., Texaco Downstream and Texaco Refining and Marketing Inc.
“The property contamination arising from your prior operations was not cleaned up and removed,” Yorktown JAZ’s attorney said in a June letter to Chevron, according to the complaint, “and the full delineated extent of the contamination was never provided” to the state Department of Environmental Conservation.
Chevron did not respond to an email message requesting comment on the lawsuit.
The property is at 3196 Crompond Road along the Taconic State Parkway where Nunzio’s Texaco Service Station operated from 1962 to 1988.
Texaco hired a company in 1988 to remove six underground petroleum storage tanks, the complaint states. In 2000, a real estate company that was thinking about buying the property hired a firm to assess the environmental conditions.
That began a series of soil and water tests and cleanup plans by several firms. In 2003, Chevron Environmental took over the remediation project from Texaco.
But Chevron’s environmental consultant, JAZ claims, took shallow soil samples and did not take soil borings in places where contamination had been detected.
The state had set up two spill reports to track the cleanup. Chevron’s environmental consultant, according to the complaint, proposed a plan to clean up about 240 tons of contaminated soil east of the former gas station building. A previous consultant had proposed removing 2,000 tons of soil north of the station.
Chevron’s consultant reported only “minor residual concentrations of petroleum hydrocarbon compounds in the soil,” to the state, according to the complaint, based on incomplete data.
Chevron’s consultant eventually removed 478 tons of contaminated soil, according to JAZ, but did not disclose the full extent of contamination.
The state issued a No Further Action Letter in 2010, closing one of the spill reports. Chevron’s contractor filled in the excavated area and covered it with asphalt.
Costco Wholesale Corp. proposed building a store near the site, and then Yorktown JAZ, working on behalf of Lowe’s, took over the project.
Their environmental consultants detected more petroleum contamination, and the state opened new spill reports.
Chevron’s consultant, JAZ alleges, “had not fully or completely addressed the subsurface contamination, thereby making additional soil excavation necessary.”
JAZ paid to remove another 6,234 tons of soil, and demanded that Chevron reimburse the costs. Chevron, the complaint states, has refused to do so.
JAZ claims Chevron “misrepresented significant widespread contamination” to the state, in violation of New York navigation laws.
JAZ has moved ahead with the Lowe’s project. Wilbur F. Breslin, the developer, announced in April that the home improvement store could open in 2019.
JAZ is represented by Dean S. Sommer and Kristin C. Rowe of Young/Sommer LLC in Albany.