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MADISON - Wisconsin Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen announced today that the Wisconsin Department of Justice has settled an environmental enforcement lawsuit in Milwaukee County Circuit Court against Rank & Son Buick-GMC and Metropolitan Finance Company for their violations of Wisconsin's hazardous substance laws.
Until November 2006, Rank & Son operated an automobile sales and service business on property owned by Metropolitan Finance Co. in the City of Milwaukee at 4200 North Green Bay Avenue.
According to the state's complaint, oily waste from an automobile service bay entered the City of Milwaukee storm sewer on several occasions during the summer of 2003. The storm sewer discharges into the Milwaukee River. The State of Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) responded to complaints about contamination in the river, and paid a consultant $23,244 to clean up the river before the contamination was traced back to a cross connection between the storm sewer and the sanitary sewer at Rank & Son. Rank & Son promptly remedied the cross-connection and, as part of the settlement of this case, defendants have reimbursed the DNR for its out-of-pocket clean-up costs. In addition, the defendants agreed to pay a total of $1,000 in forfeitures, surcharges, and costs for their violations of Wisconsin hazardous substance discharge laws.
Wisconsin Stat. Ð’ 292.11(7)(a) provides that, when action to remediate the discharge of a hazardous substance to the environment is not being adequately taken or the identity of the person responsible for the discharge is unknown, DNR or its authorized representative may "identify, locate, monitor, contain, remove or dispose of the hazardous substance or take any other emergency action which it deems appropriate under the circumstances." Wis. Stat. 292.11(7)(b) states: "the person who possessed or controlled a hazardous substance which was discharged or who caused the discharge of a hazardous substance shall reimburse the department for actual and necessary expenses"
The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources investigated this case with assistance from the City of Glendale and the City of Milwaukee. The DNR referred the case to the Wisconsin Department of Justice asking that an environmental enforcement case be brought against Rank & Son and Metropolitan Finance Co. in Milwaukee County Circuit Court. Wisconsin Assistant Attorney General Diane Milligan represented the state. Milwaukee County Circuit Court Judge Richard J. Sankovitz approved the settlement.