AG Kaul Announces Judgment Requiring Environmental Restoration and $100,000 Penalty

Jul 14 2020

MADISON, Wis. – Attorney General Josh Kaul announces today his office has obtained a judgment against Dane County resident Frank Gribble requiring a complete an environmental restoration and payment $100,000 in forfeitures, surcharges, court costs, and attorney fees for violations of the State’s hazardous substance spills law that resulted from Mr. Gribble’s failure to investigate and remediate petroleum contamination at a former Dodge County bulk petroleum storage facility.


“When a spill happens, the health of Wisconsinites and our natural resources depends on contamination being promptly and properly cleaned up,” said AG Kaul. “The Department of Justice will continue to work with the Department of Natural Resources to ensure that responsible parties fulfill their obligations under the law.”


Wisconsin’s spills law requires that persons who possess or control hazardous substances discharged to the environment take responsibility for the discharge and take actions necessary to restore the environment to the extent practicable and to minimize the harmful effects from the discharge to the air, lands, and waters of the State.


According to the Complaint, in 2001 all the tanks, piping, and load out equipment from the bulk petroleum storage facility were removed from Mr. Gribble’s property and petroleum contamination was found in the soil. Mr. Gribble, as a party responsible for cleaning up the contamination, failed to conduct an investigation to determine the degree and extent of the petroleum contamination and failed to implement measures to remediate the contamination. Since being referred to DOJ, Mr. Gribble has started remediating the petroleum contamination. He has engaged with an environmental consultant, removed a significant amount of contaminated soil, and installed several groundwater monitoring wells.


In addition to the monetary judgment, Mr. Gribble is required to complete the environmental restoration of the site, which includes: conducting all necessary remedial actions to remove or minimize the threats to human health and the environment from the contaminated soil, conducting required groundwater monitoring, completing additional site investigation activities if necessary; and obtaining case closure from DNR.


The Joint Committee on Finance approved this settlement on June 16.


Assistant Attorney General Bradley J. Motl represented the State. The Order for Judgment was signed by Dane County Circuit Court Judge Everett Mitchell on July 9, 2020.


Copies of the Summons and Complaint, Stipulation for Judgment, Order for Judgment, and Judgment are available below.