Ind. to receive $2 million in stock from industrial cleanup‏

Nick Rees Oct. 13, 2009, 3:50pm

Greg Zoeller

ANGOLA, Ind. (Legal Newsline) - In connection with the cleanup for the former Dana-Weatherhead industrial site, the state of Indiana will receive approximately $2 million in stock from the Dana Corp.

The distribution of the stock stems from an agreement by Dana Corp. to resolve environmental claims that the Indiana Department of Environmental Management brought against the company. The stock will then be given to the city of Angola and the current owner of the industrial site.

The stock distribution allows Univertical Corp., the site's current owner, to continue its operation in the city of Angola, which employs 55 people.

"Protecting the public from a confirmed source of groundwater pollution and the public's health are our primary concerns," Attorney General Greg Zoeller said. "This public-private partnership will help a local employer remain in the community and keep jobs in Angola."

The stock is intended to reimburse both Angola and Univertical for costs associated with cleaning up pollutants at the site. The 300,000 shares of stock will be distributed by the Indiana Department of Environmental Management with 50,000 shares immediately transferred to Univertical and the rest to Angola.

The city of Angola, Steuben County, and Univertical each paid $1 million towards the cost of the site's cleanup. The cleanup costs would have forced Univertical to relocate if not for the public-private participation in the cleanup.

"The City of Angola deserves credit for its great commitment to keeping a viable employer in the community and for efforts to protect the community's drinking water resources," Thomas Easterly, IDEM commissioner, said.

"Univertical deserves credit for its willingness to work hand-in-hand with IDEM, the City of Angola, and all involved parties. My staff and I remain committed to providing project management throughout the duration of the project and to maximizing the value of the stock as much as possible."

The site, located at 203 Weatherhead St., was formerly operated as an automotive parts foundry and machining plant by Dana. It was closed about 16 years ago. Soil at the site was polluted with a chlorinated solvent. IDEM required Dana to operate a groundwater-treatment system to keep the city's water supply from becoming contaminated.

After filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protections in 2006, Dana argued that it no longer had a legal responsibility to clean up its former site or operate a groundwater-treatment system at the site.

Because of the potential danger and immediate threat to Angola's water supply, Dana agreed to continue its groundwater treatment system while IDEM's claims remained unresolved. IDEM took over responsibility for the treatment system following a Sept. 23 approval of the IDEM-Dana settlement for the Angola site by a bankruptcy claims monitor.

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