Kellwood Facing Soil, Water Pollution Lawsuit; Environmental Agencies Want to Recover Costs of Cleanup at a Former Factory Site in New Haven

Article excerpt

The Environmental Protection Agency and Missouri Department of Natural Resources are suing Kellwood Co. to recover costs associated with soil and groundwater pollution from a former camping gear plant in Franklin County.

The agencies also want the court to force Town and Country-based Kellwood to clean up a former plant site and related contamination because they "may pose an imminent and substantial endangerment to the public health or welfare or the environment," according to the lawsuit filed Friday in U.S. District Court in St. Louis.

The lawsuit said groundwater and soil in and around New Haven, a Missouri River town of about 2,000 people an hour west of St. Louis, are fouled with tetrachloroethyelene, or PCE, a colorless solvent.

Until 1997, New Haven was the headquarters for American Recreation Products, a Kellwood division that made camping gear. PCE was used to clean the metal rods cut for tent poles.

The company now operates as an apparel maker that is owned by private equity firm Sun Capital Partners. …