Target Rock Corporation - Ruling, November 28, 1995
Ruling, November 28, 1995
STATE OF NEW YORK : DEPARTMENT OF ENVIRONMENTAL CONSERVATION
In the Matter of
the Alleged Violations of Articles 17 (Water
Pollution Control), 27 (Solid Waste and Hazardous Wastes) and
71 (Enforcement) of the New York State Environmental Conservation
RULINGS OF ADMINISTRATIVE LAW JUDGE
TARGET ROCK CORPORATION
a/k/a and/or d/b/a
TARGET ROCK CORP.
File No. R1-5610
a/k/a and/or d/b/a
This proceeding was commenced by service of a verified complaint dated September 28, 1995, upon Respondents Target Rock Corporation and Curtiss-Wright Corporation (the Respondents), alleging violation of Articles 17 and 27 of the Environmental Conservation Law on five specific dates by allegedly discharging or disposing specific substances without permits, resulting in contravention of water quality standards.
The Respondents moved for a more definite statement by submitting an affidavit of Peter G. Ruppar, of Duke, Holzman, Yaeger & Photiadis, LLP, attorney for the Respondents, received by the Office of Hearings on October 13, 1995. The matter was assigned to Administrative Law Judge Susan F. Weber. By letter on November 16, 1995, ALJ Weber solicited Department Staff's position on the motion. On November 20, 1995, Department staff responded by letter of Louise M. Aja, Assistant Regional Attorney, in opposition to the motion.
For the reasons set forth below, the Respondents' motion for a more definite statement is denied.
DISCUSSION AND RULING
An administrative complaint must contain a statement of legal authority and jurisdiction under which the proceeding is to be held, a reference to the statutory provisions, rules and regulations involved, and a concise statement of the matters asserted. 6 NYCRR Part 622.3(a)(1). As in civil practice, the pleading in an administrative proceeding must provide the respondent with notice of the allegations sufficient to respond.
The administrative complaint asserts that, on specific dates, the Respondents discharged or disposed of specific toxic substances at their manufacturing and testing facility in Farmingdale. The discharges, it is further asserted, have caused contravention of groundwater standards for those substances. Further, the complaint alleges that on specific dates the Respondents discharged specific toxic substances without a SPDES permit. Such permit is required for industrial discharges from point sources. The complaint also alleges that the Respondents stored, treated or disposed of a specific hazardous waste at the facility without a permit in contravention of ECL 27-0913. All the allegations regarding discharge and disposal are made upon information and belief.
The Respondents seek more definite information regarding the manner in which the alleged discharges or disposal occurred, where at the facility each substance was discharged or disposed, and how the toxic substances allegedly entered the groundwater.
Department staff responds that the allegations in the complaint are adequate, and that the information sought is within the knowledge of the Respondents and will be developed during discovery prior to hearing.
I find that the complaint is legally sufficient to give the Respondents notice of the violations charged. Specifically, the substances allegedly discharged, the dates upon which the discharges are alleged to have occurred, and the specific standards allegedly violated. While it is true that the terms "discharged" and "disposed of" can encompass a broad range of actions, all such actions violate ECL 17-0501 if water quality standards are contravened as a result. Therefore, the precise manner of discharge may not be relevant, especially at the pleading stage of this proceeding. The Respondents have adequate information upon which to make a responsive pleading.
Susan F. Weber
Administrative Law Judge
Albany, New York
November 28, 1995