Lawsuit over Century Brass cleanup headed to trial
NEW MILFORD — The long-standing legal battle over who is responsible for cleaning up the Century Brass mill site appears headed to trial.
The battle began more than two years ago when town officials filed a lawsuit against Trumbull-based Standard Demolition Services after the company packed up its equipment and left the job site without completing the building demolition.
The company had been awarded a $2.7 million contract in 2015 to tear down the 320,000-square-foot structure. But the company left prior to completing the job, claiming that the town was responsible for the remediation of contaminated steel beams. Town officials have argued that remediation was part of the contract.
The Century Brass mill contains about 1,500 tons of PCB contaminated steel.
The demolition company filed a counter claim arguing that the town said remediation wasn’t necessary. The company argued in its filings that it reduced its bid by $200,000 due to the money it expected to recoup from recycling the steel.
Town officials asked for immunity from the counterclaim, based on special immunities enjoyed by municipalities, but Superior Court Judge David Moore rejected the argument.
Moore found in a decision issued earlier this month that there are legitimate questions about whether “the town represented that the successful bidder would be able to recycle the steel without remediation.”
The issue has been set down for a trial in December.
An attorney for the town confirmed the issue was heading to trial but declined to comment. The demolition company's attorney was unavailable for comment.
The former factory sat vacant for more than 30 years before the town took ownership of the property in 2000 and was ordered to clean it up by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The town has until 2020 to complete the work. The hope is to clean up the site so the town can attract new development on the parcel.
Two years ago the town hired Costello Dismantling Co., of West Wareham, Mass., to complete the demolition. The EPA approved a plan to remove the contaminated steel last year.
The majority of the structure has since been removed from the site.