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Pennsylvania Seeks $5.9 Million Fine Against CBS For Alleged Pollution

March 9, 1993

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) _ Pennsylvania said Monday it is seeking a $5.9 million fine against CBS Inc. for alleged pollution violations at a toy plant the company formerly operated.

The state Department of Environmental Resources said suspected cancer- causing solvents and heavy metals have contaminated soil and groundwater at the toy plant in East Lampeter Township in Lancaster County.

DER Secretary Arthur Davis said there is no immediate threat to public health and safety.

The state said that it received a report of environmental problems at the site when CBS operated the plant from 1978 to 1986. But CBS took no cleanup steps and did not notify the state of the problems, according to state regulators.

A spokesperson for CBS did not return a message left on an answering machine at the network’s corporate communications office in New York City.

DER spokeswoman Pam DiSalvo said the agency has asked the state’s Environmental Hearing Board to impose the fine. No hearing date has been set. CBS can appeal any decisions by the hearing board to Commonwealth Court.

The plant, now closed, is owned by Playskool Inc., which notified the state in 1990 of the problems. Hazardous and industrial wastes were disposed of in two unlined waste lagoons, which in turn contaminated soil and groundwater, the state said. The 56-acre site has been used for toy manufacturing since 1956.

In a consent agreement filed with Commonwealth Court, the state fined Playskool $82,000 for not telling it of the problems when Playskool bought the property from CBS in 1986. Playskool has agreed to clean up the site.

In a statement, Playskool said it is committed to clean up the site as quickly as possible.

″We did not cause these problems and we are in litigation with CBS to recover the costs of this cleanup, which we believe is their responsibility,″ the statement said.

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