AG Van Hollen: Files complaint against Madison-Kipp Corporation

Madison-Kipp Corporation Charged with Not Adequately Responding to Contamination at its Facility

For More Information Contact:

Dana Brueck 608/266-1221

MADISON — Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen announced today that the Wisconsin Department of Justice (DOJ) has filed a lawsuit against Madison-Kipp Corporation (Madison-Kipp) alleging that it violated Wisconsin’s hazardous substance spills law at its City of Madison facility. According to the civil complaint, filed at the request of the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR), Madison-Kipp from, on or before 1994 to present, failed to take those actions necessary to investigate and restore the environment or to minimize the harmful effects to the environment caused by its discharge of industrial chemicals, and for an extended period of time failed to notify the DNR of its unauthorized discharge of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) to the environment.

Madison-Kipp has operated an industrial facility at 201 Waubesa Street in the City of Madison since 1902. From the late 1940s until 1987, Madison-Kipp used tetrachloroethene (PCE) as a degreasing solvent. During this time, PCE was released into the air and soil by venting, spills or leaks and has contaminated both soil and groundwater on and beyond the Madison-Kipp property. In 1994, the DNR became aware of PCE contamination at the facility and issued a formal notice that identified Madison-Kipp as the responsible party for the contamination and informed it of its responsibilities under the state spill law. Since then, the DNR has provided regulatory oversight of Madison-Kipp’s efforts to assess and clean up the contamination. There is PCE soil and/or soil vapor contamination originating from the facility on at least 39 properties in the neighborhood. The DNR has asked Madison-Kipp to take action to remediate the contamination and required Madison-Kipp to conduct additional testing on nearby properties to determine the full extent of the contamination. Remediation for the PCE contamination thus far by Madison-Kipp has included soil excavation, soil treatment, the installation of soil vapor extraction systems and ozone injection to remediate groundwater contamination. Madison-Kipp has installed vapor mitigation systems at five neighborhood homes and the DNR has installed vapor mitigation systems at an additional fourteen.

Madison-Kipp used oil containing PCBs at the facility from 1966 until at least 1971. During that time and beyond, spent oil containing PCBs was spread on the facility’s gravel parking lots as a dust suppressant. This spreading released PCBs into the environment and contaminated soil on and beyond the Madison-Kipp property. The DNR was not advised of this spreading by Madison-Kipp until 2012, after PCBs were found during Madison-Kipp’s installation of a soil vapor extraction system at the facility. The DNR ordered Madison-Kipp to conduct additional testing to determine the extent of the PCBs contamination. PCBs soil contamination has been found at the Madison-Kipp facility and off site soil contamination, originating from the Madison-Kipp facility, has been detected to the north, east and west of the facility but the full extent of its spread has not been determined. Remediation for the PCB contamination thus far by Madison-Kipp has included soil excavation at its facility.

Wisconsin law requires that a person who possesses or controls a hazardous substance which is discharged shall notify the DNR and take the actions necessary to investigate and restore the environment to the extent practicable and minimize the harmful effects from the discharge to the air, lands or waters of this state. The complaint alleges that Madison-Kipp failed to notify the DNR of the PCBs discharge and its efforts have not been sufficient to define the full extent of the contamination and remediate it in a timely fashion.

A copy of the Summons and Complaint is available at the following link:

Summons and Complaint

Assistant Attorney General Steven Tinker represents the state in this matter.