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University lawsuit alleges contamination

STANFORD -- Stanford University has sued a former Stanford Research Park tenant, seeking to compel thorough cleanup of soil and groundwater contamination.

The lawsuit, filed Aug. 28 in federal court, was brought under the federal Superfund law and California law. It contends that Aydin Corp. contaminated university property at 3180 Hanover Street, Palo Alto, during the 27 years that Aydin and its predecessor companies manufactured polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB) transformers and other electrical equipment at the site. Aydin, headquartered in Horsham, Pa., left the property in 1984, and the land is now vacant.

Aydin, in turn, filed suit against Stanford in federal court Aug. 30, seeking to compel the university to pay for a portion of the cleanup.

The university took its action after Aydin officials proposed a cleanup plan that would leave significant chemical concentrations permanently on the property, said Lee Thompson, a senior university counsel at Stanford.

Thompson said the company recommended a cleanup plan to the State of California Environmental Protection Agency proposing to excavate some of the soil laden with high levels of PCBs to a depth of 5 feet, but leaving in place very high concentrations below that depth. The company has proposed to "cap" much of the remaining PCBs on the site.

Thompson said that the university is concerned that Aydin's plan would leave behind PCB levels that might require permanent land-use restrictions on the property.



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