NY pizza chain sues town for pollution caused by leaking USTs

Victor, a town just outside Rochester, New York, is being sued by the owners of a Pontillo’s Pizzeria, a regional franchise that owns and operates a restaurant just next to the town’s newly constructed town hall. The plaintiffs say workers involved in the construction of the new town hall building ruptured underground storage tanks containing fuel, which polluted their land. According to a report by MPNnow of Rochester, the suit was filed this month in New York’s Supreme Court for an unspecified amount of damages.

The report explains that a few old fuel tanks were uncovered beneath the town hall during the construction phase. Workers allegedly punctured at least one of the tanks while they were being removed, spilling oil and other toxic substances all over the property. Plaintiffs claim that construction commenced on the site before anyone investigated the possible presence of USTs or conducted an appropriate environmental assessment of the property.

Construction workers unearthed seven tanks at the site. The tanks are believed to be roughly 70 years old – remnants of an old gas station and car dealership that once occupied the site. One thousand-gallon tank containing groundwater and fuel ruptured after it was hit by a piece of construction equipment. Another tank containing motor oil also spilled into the ground.

A company was called in to remove the contaminated soil after workers discovered the leak. Tons of soil were removed from the site, but cleanup stopped before the structural foundation of the restaurant was threatened.

David and Philip Pontillo, owners of the pizza chain, say that their restaurant has suffered from lost profits because of the contamination. They also claim that their property value has fallen. Negotiations between the two sides are ongoing, MPNnow reports.