UPDATE: Judge approves settlement with Wis. manufacturer

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UPDATED Monday, October 28, 2013 --- 6:08 p.m.

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- A federal judge has approved a $4.6 million settlement of an environmental lawsuit against a Madison manufacturer by a group of its neighbors.

U.S. District Judge Barbara Crabb approved the settlement Monday against Madison-Kipp.

Under the settlement reached in July, the 32 homes will receive money and pollution control equipment. Madison-Kipp will replace the top one foot of soil from their yards with clean fill.

The Wisconsin Journal Sentinel (http://bit.ly/1bwyDRX ) reports the settlement is similar to one for $2.6 million that involves 52 other neighboring homes that was approved last month in Dane County.

In both cases, neighbors alleged contamination from the plant lowered property values.

Madison-Kipp denies the allegations. A state environmental lawsuit is still pending.

The company makes machined components for transportation, industrial and lawn and garden customers.

Copyright 2013: Associated Press

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UPDATED Friday, September 28, 2012 --- 11:45 a.m.

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- The state is suing a Madison manufacturer, alleging it violated the hazardous substance spills law.

Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen announced the lawsuit Friday, filed on behalf of the Department of Natural Resources against Madison-Kipp, which produces machined components for transportation, industrial and lawn and garden customers.

The complaint says the company failed to notify the DNR about PCB discharges from 1966 to at least 1971. The Capital Times (http://tinyurl.com/95wx3pr ) reports the state also alleges Madison-Kipp used the chemical PCE as a degreasing solvent until 1987, which contaminated soil and groundwater.

Madison-Kipp spokesman Mark Meunier says the company isn't surprised by the filing and has been working to resolve the state's claims. Meunier says there's no elevated health risk to employees or the plant's neighbors.

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Information from: The Capital Times, http://www.madison.com/tct

Copyright 2012. The Associated Press.

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UPDATED Friday, September 28, 2012 --- 9:35 a.m.

From the Office of the Attorney General:

MADISON — Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen announced today that the Wisconsin Department of Justice (DOJ) has filed a lawsuit against Madison-Kipp Corporation (Madison-Kipp) alleging that it violated Wisconsin's hazardous substance spills law at its City of Madison facility.

According to the civil complaint, filed at the request of the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR), Madison-Kipp from, on or before 1994 to present, failed to take those actions necessary to investigate and restore the environment or to minimize the harmful effects to the environment caused by its discharge of industrial chemicals, and for an extended period of time failed to notify the DNR of its unauthorized discharge of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) to the environment.

Madison-Kipp has operated an industrial facility at 201 Waubesa Street in the City of Madison since 1902. From the late 1940s until 1987, Madison-Kipp used tetrachloroethene (PCE) as a degreasing solvent. During this time, PCE was released into the air and soil by venting, spills or leaks and has contaminated both soil and groundwater on and beyond the Madison-Kipp property.

In 1994, the DNR became aware of PCE contamination at the facility and issued a formal notice that identified Madison-Kipp as the responsible party for the contamination and informed it of its responsibilities under the state spill law.

Since then, the DNR has provided regulatory oversight of Madison-Kipp's efforts to assess and clean up the contamination.

There is PCE soil and/or soil vapor contamination originating from the facility on at least 39 properties in the neighborhood.

The DNR has asked Madison-Kipp to take action to remediate the contamination and required Madison-Kipp to conduct additional testing on nearby properties to determine the full extent of the contamination.

Remediation for the PCE contamination thus far by Madison-Kipp has included soil excavation, soil treatment, the installation of soil vapor extraction systems and ozone injection to remediate groundwater contamination.

Madison-Kipp has installed vapor mitigation systems at five neighborhood homes and the DNR has installed vapor mitigation systems at an additional fourteen.

Madison-Kipp used oil containing PCBs at the facility from 1966 until at least 1971. During that time and beyond, spent oil containing PCBs was spread on the facility's gravel parking lots as a dust suppressant. This spreading released PCBs into the environment and contaminated soil on and beyond the Madison-Kipp property. The DNR was not advised of this spreading by Madison-Kipp until 2012, after PCBs were found during Madison-Kipp's installation of a soil vapor extraction system at the facility. The DNR ordered Madison-Kipp to conduct additional testing to determine the extent of the PCBs contamination. PCBs soil contamination has been found at the Madison-Kipp facility and off site soil contamination, originating from the Madison-Kipp facility, has been detected to the north, east and west of the facility but the full extent of its spread has not been determined. Remediation for the PCB contamination thus far by Madison-Kipp has included soil excavation at its facility.

Wisconsin law requires that a person who possesses or controls a hazardous substance which is discharged shall notify the DNR and take the actions necessary to investigate and restore the environment to the extent practicable and minimize the harmful effects from the discharge to the air, lands or waters of this state. The complaint alleges that Madison-Kipp failed to notify the DNR of the PCBs discharge and its efforts have not been sufficient to define the full extent of the contamination and remediate it in a timely fashion.

A copy of the Summons and Complaint is available at the following link:

http://www.doj.state.wi.us/news/files/summons-complaint-madison-kipp-corporation-20120928.pdf

Assistant Attorney General Steven Tinker represents the state in this matter.

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UPDATED: Wednesday, September 26, 2012 --- 6:35p.m.

Madison Kipp Corp. is dealing with new pollution allegations. They're defending themselves against the EPA who says they're putting some dangerous things into the air.

Earlier this month the U.S. Environmental Protection agency issued Kipp a notice of violation. Some of the EPA allegations include that Kipp is underestimating some emissions. The EPA says the violations can result in causing cancer and other health problems, including birth defects and liver damage. They also allege Kipp is not calibrating their equipment as often as they should. There are also some allegations Kipp did not maintain proper records.

A spokesman for Kipp says they are in compliance. He thinks this is an error in how their own testing and records are being interpreted. The Kipp Corp. spokesman says they've sent 3,000 documents to the EPA showing the records they've kept of their testing and compliance. He says the two sides are scheduled to meet face to face in the next 30 days.

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UPDATED Friday, May 4, 2012 --- 5:45 p.m.

From the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources:

MADISON – Today the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources issued a Notice of Violation (NOV) to the Madison Kipp Corporation for its failure to properly report PCB contamination and other issues at its East-side manufacturing facility.

The PCB contamination was discovered in February and March by Kipp contractors when excavating soil to install a soil vapor extraction (SVE) system. The SVE system is part of an interim action approved by DNR to help remove vapor from soils in and around the Kipp plant related to other contamination on the property.

The NOV alleges Kipp did not immediately report the PCB contamination to the department or take the actions necessary to restore the environment to the extent practicable and minimize the harmful effects from the discharge to the air, lands or waters of the state as required by law.

In late March, 2012 Kipp’s contractor sent an email to DNR’s project manger about discovering the soil contamination, noting that soils contaminated with PCBs were found as part of the SVE installation. The contaminated soil was found along the facility’s eastern property line.

That same day, the DNR project manager sent a request to Kipp asking for clarification about the soil removal, including a request for information about how much soil was removed, what testing occurred and what soil had been re-buried on site. The DNR requested Kipp submit a written report as soon as possible about the soil removal and disposal.

Following standard procedure, DNR sent a Responsible Party letter to Kipp on April 19, 2012 and has made additional requests for documentation and information. The stockpiled soil was reportedly removed on April 11, 2012 and shipped to a disposal facility in Michigan.

According to a DNR letter sent jointly with the NOV, Kipp was aware of historic use of PCBs by the company on the property.

“Unbeknownst to the State, those reports discuss the historic use of spent oil, potentially contaminated with PCBs, as a dust suppressant at your property. The Phase I ESA information indicates MKC knew of the potential for PCB contamination on-site since 2006, and made no efforts to inform the State or the public,” the DNR letter stated.

The department has not made a decision on further enforcement action but the most recently alleged violations could be included with ongoing legal action. In late 2011, the department referred Kipp to Justice for enforcement regarding chlorinated solvent contamination at the property.

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UPDATED Tuesday, April 24, 2012 --- 12:23 p.m.

From the DNR:

To keep the neighborhood well advised of progress in the investigation and cleanup at the Madison Kipp Corporation Property, DNR will release updates directly to neighbors through the DNR’s website (dnr.wi.gov, search: “Kipp”) and through this e-newsletter system. DNR will make efforts to notify property owners and tenants, in advance, when specific data is released that references their property or an adjacent location.

Sub-Slab and Indoor Air Sampling Results Available for Nine Kipp-Area Homes

New testing results are now available for nine homes adjacent to the Madison Kipp Corporation that were screened for potential vapors from PCE- contamination. To view the results and a map of homes where this round of sampling is occurring go to this Web address: http://dnr.wi.gov/topic/Brownfields/documents/kipp/samplemap_4-23-12.pdf

The DNR directed Madison Kipp to conduct the sub-slab and indoor air samples as part of the ongoing work to screen more than 35 homes that could be affected by contamination from the Kipp property. Madison Kipp consultant, Arcadis, performed the testing at these first nine homes to be sampled in this round. Testing at other homes is being conducted by DNR’s consultant, SCS/BT Squared.

When reviewing the sampling results, please note that sub-slab samples were taken by Arcadis at two locations in each home (designated “Site #1” & “Site #2”), as were indoor air samples. Additionally, you will see that the Department of Health Services (DHS) also took “split samples” from four homes, to ensure quality control of results. The split samples were taken at the exact time and location as the original sample by Arcadis, but processed at a different lab. (Note: All sampling results are processed by state-certified laboratories. The DNR determined the differences between the split sample results to be within the normal margin of error for the lab.)

As the sampling results indicate, sub-slab tests in two homes found levels of PCE above the action level set by DNR for this case. The action level DNR is using is 6 parts per billion by volume (ppbv). For reference, the current EPA action level for PCE in soil vapor is 60 ppbv.

The owners of these two homes were given the option to have a DNR contractor install a vapor mitigation system in their home. To date, one home owner has agreed to have a system installed in their home by DNR’s contractor..

See What to Expect if Vapors from Soil and Groundwater Contamination Exist on My Property (RR-892) for information on sub-slab sampling and vapor mitigation systems.

Residential Sampling: Next Steps

The contractor for the DNR (SCS/BT Squared) has already started to take sub-slab and indoor air samples in homes which signed access agreements with the DNR. Tests will be conducted this week at close to ten homes, and potentially into early in May if further access agreements are signed. More than 20 neighbors who are scheduled for testing by DNR’s contractor have signed access agreements to be part of this process. If you have been contacted by the DNR to sign an access agreement and have not done so, please contact project manager Mike Schmoller (608.275.3303, michael.schmoller@wisconsin.gov) to discuss any concerns you may have.

When the results are delivered from the lab, the DNR, Department of Health Services and Public Health: Madison-Dane County will work privately with the homeowners and tenants to explain the findings and discuss any next steps that may need to be taken. Once those people have been informed, the test results will be made public through our website, e-newsletter and public availability sessions.

Please note, these tests are just the most recent step in the process of investigating and cleaning up the breadth of soil and groundwater contamination on and around Madison Kipp, and the health risks it may pose. Further steps are being considered as new data becomes available.

Also, look for an announcement soon on future public availability sessions where you can meet with local and state government staff and others to discuss these sampling results and discuss other issues regarding the investigation and cleanup of Madison Kipp.

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UPDATED Thursday, April 19, 2012 --- 3:05 p.m.

Earlier today, NBC15 News learned that a Federal Judge granted class action status to families suing Madison-Kipp corporation. In a new development, PCB has been detected on Madison-Kipp property.

According to the DNR, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) was detected on its property on Waubesa Street. The DNR learned of this on March 26 through an e-mail by Jennine Cota Traska, a representative of Arcadis.

In the letter to Madison-Kipp, Linda Hanefeld (Team Supervisor) wrote: "Based on the information that has been submitted to the DNR regarding this site, we believe you are responsible for investigating and restoring the environment at the above-described site under Section 292.11, Wisconsin Statutes, known as the hazardous substances spills law and the federal Toxic Substances Control Act, known as TSCA."

Hanefeld also writes: "The March 26, 2012 email informing us of the PCB soil contamination along the eastern property line was handled inappropriately. You are well aware of procedures and responsibilities for spill notification - those procedures were not followed. We have opened a new case file regarding this contamination. For the record, we now have two separate contamination cases for Madison-Kipp.

To read the letter from the DNR to Madison-Kipp, click on the link ABOVE marked: Letter to Madison Kipp from DNR

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Posted Thursday, April 19, 2012 --- 11:15 a.m.

Press Release from The Collins Law Firm:

April 19, 2012, Madison Wisconsin. On April 16, Federal Judge Barbara B. Crabb granted class action status to families suing Madison-Kipp corporation for allegedly contaminating their homes and properties with industrial chemicals, principally “PCE”, used by the company years ago.

Specifically, Judge Crabb ruled that the owners and residents of 34 homes on South Marquette and Waubesa Streets bordering the Madison Kipp plant property could proceed as a class.

A copy of the ruling is available here: http://www.collinslaw.com/resources/Mad-Kipp.Class-Cert-Order.pdf

Named Plaintiff Kathleen McHugh was pleased with the ruling.

“I am very happy that my family and my neighbors will be able to litigate these important issues together. While we realize that this is but one step in a lengthy legal process, it is a critical one. A case like this is too expensive for any family to litigate on its own. With this ruling, the families are now, together, one step closer to having our day in court.”

Plaintiffs’ lawyers expect that, in the next few weeks, those living in the 34 homes will be formally notified of Judge Crabb’s decision, and how it affects them, and that the Court will set a schedule for how the case will proceed, including a date for a trial.

The Plaintiffs are represented by Shawn M. Collins, Edward J. Manzke of The Collins Law Firm, Naperville, Illinois; Norman B. Berger, Michael D. Hayes of Varga Berger Ledsky Hayes & Casey, Chicago, Illinois and Richard J. Lewandowski of Whyte Hirschboeck Dudek S.C., Madison, Wisconsin

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UPDATED: Saturday, January 21, 2012 --- 6:00 p.m.
REPORTER: Phil Levin

A law firm planning to represent at least ten Madison families says it is pursuing class action against a local company for polluting.

Collins Law Firm based in Illinois says it has filed for class action against Madison Kipp Corporation. State testing published last month shows solvent dumped before 1988 is still infecting soil at dozens of homes that tightly surround the Waubesa St. facility.

The PCE chemical is a chlorine-based pollutant that can cause cancer.

Shawn Collins, a lawyer on the case, tells NBC 15 he expects to hear whether the case gets class certification in a month or two.

Right now Collins is representing seven families in individual suits against MKC. A class action would combine the suits into one effort and allow other families to join the proceeding.

Collins wants first for MKC to fund further investigation and cleanup. He also argues 34 homes surrounding the plant are worthless and wants MKC to pay homeowners the price they would be worth without the pollution.

"They've tried to sell their properties or they've inquired to realtors as to whether they could put their homes on the market," said Collins. "They're not able to and this is not surprising. Who wants to buy a home there now with contamination in that neighborhood?"

According to tax records, most of those homes are valued between about $150,000 and $200,000. Still, NBC 15 spoke to some residents off-camera who are not sold on the suit. That includes one who sometimes wears a respirator to sleep because of fumes from the facility. She says the current suit doesn't address air quality or go nearly far enough.

Other residents say they are ready for the legal battle.

"I'm going to be on board for this lawsuit," said Homeowner Sebastian Boyum. "I'm not scared of some corporation. I am concerned about Madison Kipp Corporation pollution levels in my backyard. It's like 4,000 times the level, that's what the soil sample said."

According to Collins, the case is scheduled for trial in January 2013. He is currently in the discovery phase, sharing materials with opposing lawyers from MKC.

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UPDATED Friday, January 20, 2012 --- 3:05 p.m.

Press Release:

January 20, 2012. Madison, Wisconsin families, who had originally filed their contamination lawsuit against Madison-Kipp corporation on October 20, 2011, today have amended their lawsuit, now asking the federal court to grant class action status to some 80 people who own or live in 34 homes immediately adjacent to the company.

The original lawsuit was brought by seven families living on South Marquette Street in Madison. However, recent testing in that same neighborhood has revealed that the chemical contamination, which prompted the filing of the original lawsuit, has spread throughout the neighborhood, impacting and/or threatening at least 34 homes. The proposed class representatives are Kathleen McHugh of 146 S. Marquette Street and Deanna Schneider of 150 S. Marquette Street, who were Plaintiffs in the original case. McHugh and Schneider now bring the lawsuit on behalf of themselves and the owners and residents of the 34 homes at 102 – 230 S. Marquette and 233 – 269 Waubesa Street in Madison.

McHugh and Schneider, on behalf of the proposed class, allege that a dangerous toxic chemical known as tetrachloroethylene (“PCE”), as well as other toxins, have been released from Madison-Kipp’s manufacturing facility located at 201 Waubesa Street, Madison. They further allege that these chemical releases have migrated in vapor form up through the soil, and have entered, or threaten to enter, their homes. For example, PCE has been discovered in and around these homes.

The class action lawsuit seeks a thorough investigation into the contamination on the properties of the families in the proposed class, and throughout the residential neighborhood including the Madison-Kipp plant. Also, these families demand a thorough clean-up of the contamination on their properties, as well as a clean-up of any other contamination found through further investigation. Finally, the lawsuit seeks compensation for property damage due to the contamination, as well as punitive damages, claiming that Madison-Kipp has known for years of the risk to these families and their neighbors, but did not act responsibly to protect them.

The Plaintiffs are represented by Shawn M. Collins, Edward J. Manzke of The Collins Law Firm, Naperville, IL; Norman B. Berger, Michael D. Hayes and of Varga Berger Ledsky Hayes & Casey, Chicago, IL and Richard J. Lewandowski of Whyte Hirschboeck Dudek S.C., Madison, Wisconsin.

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UPDATED: Tuesday, December 20, 2011 --- 3:15 p.m.
REPORTER: Chris Woodard
Twitter: @cwoodardnews

Tonight the DNR is trying to get inside about a dozen homes on Madison's East Side because of concerns about possible cancer causing pollution.

They're so concerned they're going door to door in the neighborhood.

Sharon Helmus says, "That's a shame because this is a great neighborhood to grow up in."

Helmus has lived in her place all her life.

For 72 years everything has been great, but now she has a big problem with her neighbor.

Helmus says, "I worry about the cancer and not selling."

Madison Kipp Corporation has been working with the DNR for the last 17 years on an investigation into ground pollution they caused.

But test results this week are so concerning, DNR reps are going door to door with Public Health to warn neighbors.

DNR Air and Waste Program Manager Eileen Pierce says, "This data is compelling so we felt it was important to share this right away."

The pollution they're worried about may cause cancer.

Helmus says, "Something should be done. That's not right and I'm not any spring chicken and none of us over here have a lot of money. If the houses won't sell we're locked in."

At five homes neighboring Madison Kipp Corporation systems to vent possible dangerous vapors from the basement have already been installed. But those homeowners are just a few of the people in the neighborhood who say they are growing increasingly concerned.

For the 34 neighbors bordering Kipp Corporation some soil vapor samples have shown chemicals for a while now but the DNR says they were very surprised by the high levels they just found near 11 homes on the North end of South Marquette Street.

Their immediate priority is to get into those homes to test the ground underneath the basement.

Pierce says, "We do not yet know whether these vapors have made it into the homes and that's why we really want to do this testing to find out."

The DNR has also referred results of their tests to the Department of Justice for further investigation.

Helmus says, "They should do more and more."

The DNR says Madison Kipp Corporation has been cooperating and working with them on the investigation.

A spokesperson for Madison Kipp Corp. says they'll continue to work to clean up the ground and says the pollution comes from a parts-cleaner solvent they haven't used for more than ten years that was properly vented by environmental standards of the time.

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UPDATED: Tuesday, December 20, 2011 --- 3:15 p.m.

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources spent much of yesterday evening going door-to-door in an east side Madison neighborhood, to tell homeowners of the latest results of soil testing. In all, they visited about 35 homes.

The DNR says the most recent tests indicate that the chemical tetrachloroethylene--or PCE--is widespread in soil vapors around the Madison Kipp Corporation property. PCE is a suspected carcinogen. It is the prime contaminant, but there are also trichloroethylene (TCE) and dichloroethylene (DCE).

These soil tests were done around the common property line between Madison Kipp and homes surrounding the plant. The DNR says the next step is to test the homes themselves to see what the chemical levels on individual properties--and inside the homes. They're requesting that the next round of tests be completed by the end of January.

If the next tests detect levels that pose a health risk, affected homes would most likely need to install mitigation systems in their basements. The systems can cost between $800 and $1000. The DNR says they would expect Madison Kipp to cover the cost. It is still unclear how many homes may need the mitigation systems.

The DNR has been working with Madison Kipp Corporation for about 15 years to fix the polluted grounds. It's unclear how exactly the ground was originally contaminated, but the DNR suspects the source was the mishandling of solvents on the company's property many years ago. Those chemicals leaked into the soil, then into the groundwater, and eventually into the soil vapor.

A spokesperson for Madison Kipp says the company has been working with the DNR since 1994, and will continue to work cooperatively to clean up the contaminated ground. He says they have traced the original problem back several decades to a parts-cleaner solvent. It was properly vented by environmental standards at the time, some of the solvent soaked into the soil. Madison Kipp has not used that solvent since 1987.

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UPDATED Friday, October 21, 2011 --- 7:35 a.m.

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- Seven families who live near a Madison chemical plant are suing the company, alleging it has failed to clean up contaminants.

The plaintiffs say chemicals from the Madison-Kipp Corp. have poisoned the groundwater beneath their homes and that vapors have seeped up through the soil into their houses.

Kipp vice president Mark Meunier says there's no imminent or substantial danger to the neighborhood. He says the company has long been working on a soil and groundwater remediation program. Meunier says the chemicals in question have not been used by the company since 1987.

The State Journal (http://bit.ly/pzYj2g ) says the lawsuit filed in federal court Thursday asks for a more thorough cleanup of the contaminants and compensation for property damage.

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Information from: Wisconsin State Journal, http://www.madison.com/wsj

Copyright 2011. The Associated Press.

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UPDATED Thursday, October 20, 2011--10:20p.m.

MADISON--One of the first things people seem to talk about in this neighborhood is how much they enjoy their community. "I would love to stay in the neighborhood, I love my neighbors," said Deanna Schneider, a resident. "Our kids all were born here together, they've grown-up together. We love each other, we want to stay in this community."

But they say the homes they so love, sit atop a hidden danger: "Hundreds of times above the EPA standard, beneath my house," said Schneider.

And they say the source is the Madison-Kipp Corporation, which sits just a stone's throw away. "We're dealing here with chemicals which are the worst kind of chemicals, because they can cause cancer in human beings," said Shawn Collins, a lawyer for families that have filed a lawsuit against Madison-Kipp. "But they are colorless and odorless if they're in your water, if they're in the air inside your home, you're breathing it you don't know it."

The chemicals he's referring to include "PCE" or tetrachloroethylene.
A Madison-Kipp representative said by phone that since the mid-90s they've been involved in voluntary soil and groundwater remediation with the DNR regarding the past use of a solvent that they haven't used since 1987.

But several families near the Waubesa Street facility have filed a lawsuit hoping to find out how far the old pollution has gone--and get the company to clean it up. "We are almost two decades into this problem and we don't know how far the contamination has gone," said Collins.

Seven families say they've suffered property damage and are also seeking compensation for that.

"Mostly I'm just mad," said Prentice Berge, who--like Schneider--is a plaintiff in the lawsuit. "I knew I was moving in next to a factory and I knew that it was going to be noisy and I was going to get woken up at night and things like that and that was the trade-off. I got a little bit cheaper home because of that. But I didn't know they were poisoning me."

A company representative said they're looking forward to defending the company. He also said they pose no substantial or imminent danger to the area or community. He says they've been actively working with the DNR on a clean-up project since 1994. He also pointed out that the company has been in Madison for 113 years and employs 380 people.

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UPDATED Thursday, October 20, 2011--6:25p.m.

MADISON--Madison residents are banding together to demand that an area company cleans-up. Several families that live near the Madison-Kipp facility on Waubesa Street filed a federal lawsuit. The company specializes in "precision machined components."

Neighbors say a dangerous pollutant has soaked into the ground around their houses--and some even say their homes are contaminated. They refer to the substance as "PCE", also known as tetrachloroethylene. Some of the residents say they only recently learned about the "PCE". They say its presence can be traced back to company behavior in the 1980s. Now residents say they want the company to clean-up the contamination and make sure their neighborhood is safe for families. "I would love to stay in the neighborhood," said Deanna Schneider, one of the plaintiffs. "I love my neighbors, our kids all were born here together, they've grown-up together, we love each other, we want to stay in this community. I also want to be in a place that's safe."

We also spoke by phone with a company representative earlier this afternoon. He said that since the mid-90s the company has been working on a voluntary soil, groundwater and remediation program with the DNR regarding past uses of a solvent. He said that they stopped using that solvent in 1987.

In response to the lawsuit, he said that they are looking forward to defending the company.

He said that they pose no substantial of imminent danger to the area or community.

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Posted Thursday, October 20, 2011 --- 3:05 p.m.

NOTE: NBC15's Rachelle Baillon will have more information on this lawsuit tonight on NBC15 News at 6:00 p.m. and 10:00 p.m.

Press Release from The Collins Law Firm:

Seven Madison Families File Federal Lawsuit Against Madison-Kipp Over Dangerous Levels of Contamination

October 20, 2011, Madison Wisconsin. Seven families living on Marquette Street in Madison, Wisconsin filed a lawsuit in federal court early today against Madison-Kipp Corporation, alleging that the nearby manufacturer is the source of dangerous chemical contamination recently discovered at their homes, and that Madison-Kipp has failed for more than fifteen years to adequately investigate and cleanup the contamination.

The seven families bringing the lawsuit are: Kathleen McHugh and Eric Fuller at 146 S. Marquette Street; Kenneth Hennrick, Jr. at 142 S. Marquette Street; Deanna Schneider at 150 S. Marquette Street; Doris Yang Berge and Prentice Berge at 154 S. Marquette Street; Peter Uttech at 162 S. Marquette Street; Sharon Helmus and Carla Mills at 166 S. Marquette Street; and Chad Gooblis and Brandi Rogers at 202 S. Marquette Street.

These families allege that a human carcinogen known as tetrachloroethylene (“PCE”), as well as other toxins, have been released from Madison-Kipp’s manufacturing facility located at 201 Waubesa Street, Madison. The families further allege that these chemical releases have contaminated the groundwater beneath their homes, and that the contamination in the groundwater has migrated in vapor form up through the soil, and has entered, or threatens to enter, their homes. For example, PCE has been discovered in and around these homes, in soil and in vapor, both immediately underneath and inside some of the homes.

The lawsuit seeks a thorough investigation into the contamination on the properties of these seven families and throughout the residential neighborhood surrounding the plant. Also, the families demand a thorough clean-up of the contamination on their properties, as well as a clean-up of any other contamination found through further investigation. Finally, the lawsuit seeks compensation for property damage due to the contamination, as well as punitive damages, claiming that Madison-Kipp has known for years of the risk to these seven families and their neighbors, but did not act responsibly to protect them.

The Plaintiffs are represented by Shawn M. Collins, Edward J. Manzke of The Collins Law Firm, Naperville, IL; Norman B. Berger, Michael D. Hayes and of Varga Berger Ledsky Hayes & Casey, Chicago, IL and Richard J. Lewandowski of Whyte Hirschboeck Dudek S.C., Madison, Wisconsin.

Copies of the Complaint are available upon request, or can be viewed at: http://www.collinslaw.com/files/MadisonComplaint.pdf