From 1958 to 1972, CBS (formerly Westinghouse Electric Corp.) operated a plant in Bloomington, Indiana, where it manufactured electrical capacitors containing an insulating fluid composed of polychlorinated biphenyls (“PCBs”), which are hazardous substances within the meaning of the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act of 1980 (“CERCLA”). CBS disposed of defective capacitors at local dumps and landfills, resulting in the release of PCBs into the environment. In addition, CBS discharged PCBs from its plant through the sewer system to the Winston Thomas Sewage Treatment Plant (“Winston Thomas”).
In the late 1970s, harmful levels of PCBs were detected in streams, sediments, plants, and wildlife around the Bloomington area, which were traced to CBS’ plant and to six sites – Lemon Lane Landfill, Neal’s Landfill, Bennett’s Dump, Anderson Road Landfill, Neal’s Dump (located in Owen County), and Winston Thomas. In 1981 and 1983 respectively, the Plaintiffs – the United States, the State of Indiana, the City of Bloomington, and Monroe County (“Plaintiffs”) – brought the present two lawsuits under CERCLA to compel clean-up of the six sites.