Molder sues GE, EPA to clean up PCBs
PITTSFIELD, MASS. - A Massachusetts injection molder located near a former General Electric Co. plant in Pittsfield is suing GE and the Environmental Protection Agency, trying to force them to clear the molder's site of cancer-causing polychlorinated biphenyls left there from decades of GE manufacturing.
GE and the EPA have proposed capping the properties of Moldmaster Engineering Co. and an excavation company owned by Vincent and Cheryl E. Stracuzzi in Pittsfield, Mass. The lawsuit, filed June 29 in U.S. District Court in Springfield, Mass., asks that GE and the EPA clear the site completely of PCBs.
Partial removal will prevent the owners from ever digging into the soils of the properties again, lawyer CristÃ³bal Bonifaz noted in a written statement about the case.
The PCBs are a byproduct of transformer production. The company ceased that production in 1977. Stripping all PCB-affected soil from the area would cost in excess of $10 million.
An agreement between GE and the EPA instead allows them to clear the land partially and install a barrier to stop the compound from reaching the surface in the future.
``EPA has maintained all along ... that planned removal would not interfere with the use of the property,'' said Moldmaster Engineering President Thomas Kushi in the statement. ``They never told us that their own appraisers had determined the properties would be rendered worthless.''
Kushi declined to comment further on the case.
GE spokesman Jonathan Klein said GE has not reviewed Moldmaster's lawsuit yet, but GE and the EPA are continuing to clean the properties in accordance with a court agreement. Cleaning has been completed at several other properties in the area without complaints, he added.
TI puts $30 million into fuel-tank plant
WARREN, MICH. - TI Automotive Systems broke ground July 1 on a $30 million blow molding plant near Hartwell, Ga., that will supply multilayer fuel tanks to two automakers by 2006.
The firm said the 145,000-square-foot plant will employ 100 people initially, making 350,000 tanks annually. Eventually the operation, with two blow molding lines, will have production capacity of 1 million tanks, said Manouchehr Kambakhsh, vice president of global advanced engineering for Warren-based TI.
The Georgia operation also will blow mold fuel filler pipes, the first time for the process in North America, he said.
Hiring and prototype production will begin in March, with full production the next year. TI will supply tank systems for BMW AG's assembly plant in South Carolina and Hyundai Motor Co.'s assembly plant under construction in Montgomery, Ala.
Plans for the plant were announced earlier this year.
Ohio recycler moves into compounding
VERSAILLES, OHIO - Plastic Recycling Technology Inc. will add a second facility to double its recycling capacities and allow it to grow into compounding and grinding.
The Versailles firm will buy a 150,000-square-foot site in Van Wert, Ohio, that should open by first-quarter 2005, officials said.
``This will allow for further segregation of plastic feedstock and recycling operations,'' said Stephen Larger, vice president of sales. ``We will be doing a lot of compounding, blending, extrusion and grinding at this new facility.''
PRT has been in a 100,000-square-foot site in Versailles since 1997, where its capacity is 55 million pounds annually with 60 employees. The firm recycles scrap, post-consumer and post-commercial plastics.
Armacell acquires RBX foam operations
MEBANE, N.C. - Elastomeric foam insulation maker Armacell LLC is boosting its technical foam operations by buying three production facilities from troubled RBX Corp. for $26 million.
Armacell, based in Mebane, completed the acquisition June 28 of sites in Conover, N.C.; South Holland, Ill.; and Colt, Ark., officials said. RBX of Roanoke, Va., closed the Colt operation in April. That site will remain closed, but Armacell plans to relocate some of the facility's production equipment. Officials would not disclose the amount of equipment.
RBX filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection earlier this year.
The new plants add 220 workers to Armacell's foam-making operations. Armacell operates sites in Mebane and Atlanta with 280 workers. Officials said the purchase adds RBX's OleTex and Ensolite brands to Armacell's ArmaFlex and ArmaFoam brands.