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State, Kipp finally settle lawsuit

A 2012 lawsuit filed by the state of Wisconsin over soil and ground water pollution related to PCBs (polycholorinated biphenyls) and PCEs (tetrachloroethylene) leaching from the Madison-Kipp Corp. plant has been settled with Kipp agreeing to pay a $350,000 fine, according to a report from the Wisconsin State Journal. The company must also provide financial assurances of up to $1.65 million related to remaining pollutants. Both PCBs and PCEs are likely carcinogenic to humans.

In 2013, Kipp paid $7.2 million to settle lawsuits from neighbors after PCEs and associated vapors spread from the plant and affected nearby homes. The company has also removed 50 tons of tainted soil from yards and along a nearby bike path, and is treating contaminated ground water and releasing 65,000 gallons a day of the treated water into Starkweather Creek.

To battle the potential of an underground plume of contaminants reaching the city’s water supply, the Madison Water Utility has budgeted $100,000 to build an early warning system — a sentinel well — that will proactively warn of any approaching plume.

Despite the DNR’s claim that overall state air quality meets standards, many Kipp-Corp. neighbors remain concerned, particularly about potential air emissions from the die-casting plant, and some reportedly plan to install their own air monitors. Wisconsin’s lawsuit was filed at the request of the Department of Natural Resources.

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