Flexsteel agrees to pay for Superfund cleanup

Flexsteel Industries Inc. has agreed to a consent decree that requires it to pay $9.8 million for the cleanup of contamination at a Superfund site.

The site is the Lane Street Ground Water Contamination Superfund Site in Elkhart, Ind. In addition to funding the cleanup, Flexsteel also agreed to reimburse the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for a portion of its past costs incurred at the Lane Street Site. Flexsteel, which is ranked #28 on the FDMC 300 list, currently operates plants in Georgia and in Mexico. 

 Lane Street Ground Water Contamination Superfund Site
Boundaries of the Lane Street Ground Water Contamination Superfund Site.

According to the complaint filed simultaneously with the proposed consent decree in the Northern District of Indiana, Flexsteel is liable for the cleanup because its former manufacturing operations contributed to contamination at the Lane Street Site. Previously, EPA entered into administrative settlements with two other potentially responsible parties for their alleged contributions to the contamination at the Lane Street Site.

“This settlement ensures that the responsible party and not the taxpayers fund the cleanup of the Lane Street Groundwater Contamination Superfund Site,” said assistant attorney general Todd Kim of the Justice Department’s Environment and Natural Resources Division. “The cleanup funded by this agreement protects the environment and the health of the surrounding community.”

“This is an excellent settlement that funds [the] necessary cleanup of a contaminated groundwater plume in Elkhart, Indiana,” said U.S. Attorney Clifford Johnson for the Northern District of Indiana. “This cleanup will protect the drinking water and health of Elkhart residents.”

“Groundwater is a drinking water source for wells and public water systems and it also flows to above-ground rivers and streams,” said EPA Regional Administrator Debra Shore. “Through this settlement and others like it, EPA is taking action to protect the health of communities and the environment by holding polluters accountable for groundwater contamination.”

“Indiana proudly works with our federal partners and industries across our state to make sure the health of Hoosiers and our environment is protected,” said Commissioner Brian Rockensuess of the Indiana Department of Environmental Management. “This settlement is great news for the people of Elkhart and will help ensure the cleanup of long-standing water contamination.”

The Lane Street Site consists of approximately 65 acres of residential and light industrial properties in Elkhart impacted by a groundwater plume contaminated primarily with solvents and degreasers such as trichloroethene and tetrachloroethene.

In 2016, EPA issued its record of decision for the Lane Street Site that selected a remedy for treating the groundwater plume by breaking down the contamination into harmless compounds. The proposed consent decree funds the implementation of the selected remedy.

Have something to say? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below.

Profile picture for user larryadams
About the author
Larry Adams | Editor

Larry Adams is a Chicago-based writer and editor who writes about how things get done. A former wire service and community newspaper reporter, Larry is an award-winning writer with more than three decades of experience. In addition to writing about woodworking, he has covered science, metrology, metalworking, industrial design, quality control, imaging, Swiss and micromanufacturing . He was previously a Tabbie Award winner for his coverage of nano-based coatings technology for the automotive industry. Larry volunteers for the historic preservation group, the Kalo Foundation/Ianelli Studios, and the science-based group, Chicago Council on Science and Technology (C2ST).