NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — A newly filed lawsuit is taking aim at a Rocky Hill business park and Pratt & Whitney for their parts in a pile of chemicals left behind in a warehouse space.
That space was rented out in early 2013 to John Turek, who moved in hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of equipment for a Jeep customization shop.
That chemical left behind was Hexavalent Chromium, a material used in the warehouse by Pratt & Whitney until they sold the space in 2001. The CDC links the chemical to lung cancer, ulcers and a host of other issues. The News 8 Investigators reported on this last year when the business owner first confirmed what it was with state inspectors.
“I haven’t seen anything like this before,” said Attorney Alex Schwartz.
In Connecticut Superior Court, Schwartz filed suit on behalf of Turek, his employees and even those who worked for Belamose Business, the current property owner.
“I just don’t want to be sick,” said Joe Waluk, 19, who worked for Belamose. He alleges that management told him to clean the green powder up without telling him what it was. He says he was made to clean Hexavalent Chromium without a mask or eye protection.
“I thought it was just powder, so I had my gloves on obviously… but I was picking it up… throwing it in the air,” said Waluk. “I didn’t know what the hell it was.”
When the property was sold, Pratt & Whitney worked with state & federal regulators to assist in the cleanup. However, according to state records, no inspector ever went inside the small room where the Hexavalent Chromium was found.
Pratt & Whitney spokeswoman Stephanie Duvall issued the following statement to News8 by email:
“We believe the suit lacks merit and we will vigorously defend the company. Pratt & Whitney performed extensive environmental remediation work for many years before selling the site in 2001 to the current property owner, Belamose Business Park. In support of the sale of the facility and federal Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) corrective action responsibilities, we worked with the Connecticut Department of Energy & Environmental Protection (DEEP), U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and a licensed environmental professional to fully investigate and remediate the site in compliance with applicable state and federal regulations. As is common with the sale of industrial property, the Buyer performed its own due diligence on both the property and the buildings.”
Below are two 2013 News 8 stories about this chemical and the warehouse.