NEW CASTLE, Ind. — Bridgestone Americas Tire Operations LLC and Ferodo America, LLC, a Tenneco brand, agreed to pay $700,000 towards the cleanup of a Super Fund site on the property once occupied by their brake-shoe manufacturing facility.
Bridgestone’s portion of the payment will be $425,000 and Ferodo’s $275,000, as enumerated in the consent decree accepted by all parties.
According to the complaint filed by the federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), “Asbestos was used in the manufacture of automotive products at the facility until approximately 1988” (Firestone Tire & Rubber Co., now a part of Bridgestone, began brake operations at this location in 1942).
The EPA complaint further stated, “Brake shoe manufacturing at the facility resulted in the generation of waste brake shoe dust, which contained asbestos. This dust spread throughout the main manufacturing building and to grounds outside the building” as well as “asbestos comprised about half of a typical brake lining compound made by the company.”
In addition to alleging the manufacturers involved discharging asbestos dust, the government claimed they also disposed of asbestos-contaminated byproducts until 1988.
Periodic sampling at the site since the 70s has turned up evidence of asbestos including an investigation commissioned at the site in 1999 which found evidence of brake shoe dust throughout the main building and on the ground surrounding the buildings, according to the complaint.
On Thursday, April 19, 2012, a large fire took place inside a vacant building on the property because of illegal scrapping. As a result of the fire, the building was demolished and demolition debris was left in piles on the property. This fire led to the EPA accelerating its investigation of the property and subsequent complaint.
The federal government sought to put the corporate successors on the hook for cleanup costs under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act, which allows the U.S. to recover the costs of cleaning hazardous substances from the responsible parties.