Sheryl Barr

October 17, 2017

Cleanup Under Way After Large Oil Spill Off Louisiana Coast

Source: Dow Jones News Service, October 15, 2017
Posted on:

An offshore pipeline fracture that has spilled as much as 9,350 barrels of oil into the Gulf of Mexico near Louisiana appeared to be contained, the company responsible said on Sunday.

LLOG Exploration Company LLC on Thursday morning discovered the spill, which stemmed from a fracture of some of its infrastructure in 4,463 feet of water, 40 miles southeast of Venice, La. The offshore oil producer estimated the spill had released between 7,950 and 9,350 barrels of oil and said it said it would be monitoring the area with authorities to clean up oil where possible.

The Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement said no shoreline impacts have been reported, and there were no reports of injuries. It is investigating the cause.

The spill appeared to be one of the largest in the Gulf of Mexico since the 2010 Deepwater Horizon explosion and spill, which killed 11 people and released more than 4 million barrels of crude. The BSEE, which regulates offshore oil activity, said it didn’t immediately have data available on where the spill ranked by volume.

U.S. authorities said three sheens of oil visible on the water’s surface Saturday morning during an observation flight dissipated as the weekend went on and there appeared to be no risk to shoreline impact.…

October 17, 2017

Construction dust concerning Montgomery County residents

Source:, October 13, 2017

Residents of the town of Florida in Montgomery County contacted NewsChannel 13 this week. They’re concerned about a massive Dollar General distribution center being built in their backyards – literally.

They told us that in recent weeks they’ve noticed large clouds of white dust over the site and said it’s been blowing onto their properties. They’re worried it could be hazardous and asked us to investigate.

The construction site off Route 5S in the town of Florida is a busy one. A parade of trucks and machinery criss-cross the 100-acre parcel seven days a week from dawn to dusk.

“They usually start about 7:00 in the morning,” noted Pat Holt.

She has a front row seat to all the activity happening a few hundred feet behind her home. She and her neighbors have voiced concerns before, but she says they were assured the impact would be limited. Just a few weeks ago, she noticed big clouds of dust over the site, which she says wound up falling on her property.

“The wind a lot of times will blow out of the south, so we do get a fair amount of it over here,” she explained. “We keep the windows and doors closed most of the time so it doesn’t get in the house.”

October 16, 2017

Smooth Sailing for a Pollution Exclusion?

Source:, October 16, 2017
By: Steven Pitt

The question of whether carbon monoxide constitutes a pollutant for purposes of a standard policy pollution exclusion has been mixed among the courts. Whether carbon monoxide constitutes pollution is jurisdiction-specific and depends on whether the jurisdiction adopts a traditional or broadened view of environmental pollution. Exposure to carbon monoxide is a serious event. Nevertheless, the seriousness of a carbon monoxide claim can be somewhat blunted by the extremes that claimants will go to in arguing around a pollution exclusion. Such was the case that was recently decided by the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals.

In Travelers Property Casualty Co. of America v. Klick, 867 F.3d 989 (8th Cir. 2017) the claimant was riding as a passenger on a fishing boat owned by a friend. The 25-foot fishing boat had been purchased a few weeks earlier. While fishing on a lake in Minnesota, both the boat owner, Lonnie Norburg, and the claimant, Christopher Klick, noticed that the engine was not operating properly. At that point, Norburg, who was at the helm of the boat, asked Klick to take the helm while Norburg went to check on the engine problem. The helm of the boat was near the front of the boat in the wheelhouse. The wheelhouse was a roofed area with walls and windows to the front, left, and right. The back of the wheelhouse was open. The boat’s engine was located in a compartment beneath the wheelhouse.…

October 13, 2017

Hurricane Season: Understanding Obligations Under Contractors Pollution Insurance

Source:, October 5, 2017
By: Jeff Slivka

Within two weeks, the United States suffered two of the most devastating storms ever to hit American shores. For four days, Hurricane Harvey pelted Houston, Texas and the surrounding area with upwards of 40 inches of rain and 130 mph winds to destroy an estimated 40,000 homes, businesses and infrastructure causing nearly $200 billion in damage.

Just days later, the Islands of the Caribbean and then Florida began to feel the effects of Hurricane Irma, which would ultimately leave more than six million Floridians without power, damage or destroy 90 percent of Key West homes and create extensive flooding in numerous cities like Jacksonville and along the Georgia coastline.

Now comes the hard part—rebuilding midway through an ever-widening hurricane season that could produce as many as seven more hurricane-level storms over the next few months, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. That’s because even after the water recedes, emergency personnel, builders and residents will still have to deal with a range of issues that could both impede reconstruction efforts and negatively affect the health of millions.…

October 13, 2017

Philadelphia school to remain closed Friday for mold remediation

Source:, October 12, 2017
By: Andrew Parent

An elementary school in the city’s Germantown section will remain closed Friday as work continues to remove mold found in several of its classrooms.

About 80 percent of the remediation work at John B. Kelly Elementary School had been completed as of early Thursday afternoon, according to the School District of Philadelphia.

Trace amounts of mold were the result of issues with the building’s heating, ventilation and air-conditioning system, according to the district, which was alerted to contamination on Wednesday.

An environmental remediation contractor began work to remove the mold Wednesday afternoon and had been expected to finish the job Thursday evening, the district said.

The district said the school will not reopen until it is mold-free.

Faculty members will again report Friday to the Hill-Freedman World Academy, 1100 E. Mt. Pleasant St.

The district plans to give an update to parents and staff no later than 5 p.m. Sunday.…

October 13, 2017

More mold found in Cheltenham schools

Source:, October 10, 2017
By: Kristen A. Graham

Monroe Township in Gloucester County isn’t the only district coping with a mold problem in one of its schools.

Cheltenham, where mold caused years of problems and ultimately forced the school district to shut and rebuild one of its middle schools, has had another mold outbreak.

Cheltenham High School’s library was closed this week after mold was found there, said Steve Greenbaum, a district spokesman.

The problem was discovered when a staffer who worked in the library complained of feeling sick. Cheltenham contracted with an environmental engineering firm, which found mold in the air and on many of the library’s books. Immediate remediation was suggested.

The district shut the library as of Monday and is accelerating a project to renovate the library and replace its HVAC system. It will remain closed through the renovation, a process that is expected to last into the spring.

A six-point plan to remediate the mold is underway, officials said — from removing and replacing ceiling tiles to using special filters and vacuums to clean and purify the books and rooms.

Greenbaum said it was not immediately clear how much the remediation and renovation would cost.

The rest of the school is unaffected, Cheltenham officials said in information sent to parents. The library’s HVAC system is self-contained, so its air was not spread to other areas in the building.

“Families will be notified if additional mold testing within the high school yields problematic results,” the district said.

No mold was found in the library when it was cleaned and prepared for students prior to the start of the school year, officials said, and no one reported any possible problems until the staffer disclosed her illness recently.

While the library is closed, school officials have made alternate spaces available for students to study, take exams, seek help for computer repairs, and print documents.…

October 11, 2017

Environmental cleanup underway at Rutkowski Park: Bayonne officials

Source:, October 10, 2017
By: Corey W. McDonald

Honeywell International has begun an environmental remediation project at Richard A. Rutkowski Park as part of the New Jersey’s required cleanup of chromium residue that was used early in the 20th century.

The project began earlier this month and officials this week will begin surveying and identifying areas for clearing of excavation and vegetation.

Honeywell International was ordered in 2003 to clean up a 34-acre site along Jersey City’s western waterfront that was a dumping ground for chromium, a known carcinogen. Two years later chromium was identified by the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection during an inspection of Rutkowski Park.

The project is expected to conclude by mid-December, and nearly all of the work is occurring along a portion of the Bayonne sewer pipeline in Rutkowski Park, officials said.

Park improvements will include replacement of the asphalt walkway within the work area, removal of overgrown vegetation, and new plantings between West 48th and West 49th streets, officials said.

The work will require the closure of certain sections of the park for a limited period of time, the city said.

Officials said the work area will extend from West 48th Street to West 52nd Street; Honeywell has distributed a letter about the environmental remediation to the residents in the area around the work area and the park.…

October 10, 2017

Contentious school board meeting held to discuss mold mess

Source:, October 10, 2017
By: Chris Franklin

The mold controversy that has become a concern for many residents who live in the Monroe Township School District found its way to the Williamstown High School auditorium Monday. The hall, which holds over 1,020 people was so packed that the township fire marshal had to tell people to line up outside in the hallways.

Earlier in the day, the school district announced that the every school in the district will be closed for the rest of the week as outside contractors begin surveying the school and seeing if mold is above acceptable levels in the district’s six buildings. The Holly Glen Elementary School was closed last Thursday after mold counts were deemed excessive.

The emergency Monroe Township Board of Education meeting was at times contentious. In a scene that resembled a rally, parents and students in the crowd voiced their displeasure, trying to find out the cause of the mold and asking questions as to how long the board knew about the mold as well as who should be held responsible.

TTI Environmental and All Risk are the two companies that will be working together to remove the mold and clean the buildings. TTI Environmental Vice President of Consulting Timothy Popp was at the meeting to go over the process of how the buildings will be inspected and tested for mold while All Risk Senior Vice President Lou Crisei said a crew of 40 to 50 people would be brought in to clean. TTI would then come back in and retest to make sure it is safe.…

October 10, 2017

Bedbug talk to headline Ogdensburg City Council meeting

Source:, October10 , 2017
By: Larry Robinson

Bedbugs will top the agenda at tonight’s City Council meeting, an issue that has sparked debate for several weeks now, following an outbreak of the critters at one of the community’s public housing complexes.

Opening the council meeting at 7 p.m. will be a presentation by William Seymour, executive director of the Ogdensburg Housing Authority. He will be accompanied by Patricia Redden-Sargent, chairwoman of the Ogdensburg Housing Authority Board.

The two representatives will address a recent bed bug infestation at Centennial Terrace and Riverview Towers, a high-rise Housing and Urban Development controlled apartment complex on Washington Street.

The issue came to light after residents began complaining publicly that housing authority officials, including Mr. Seymour, are moving too slowly in trying to eradicate the biting pests.…

October 10, 2017

What Cal U hasn’t divulged since collapse at parking garage last year

Source:, October 7, 2017
By: Bill Schackner

Michael Kanalis knew early on that the state university where he works was looking straight up at a problem — a big one.

When a concrete chunk longer than a car inexplicably fell to the floor inside a five-story parking garage that had opened just six years before, California University of Pennsylvania lost not only prime parking in the heart of campus but fees it sorely needed to offset its growing yearly debt.

In an email days after the August 2016 collapse, Mr. Kanalis, interim director of facilities, said he informed an outside engineer that Cal U needed reassurance that the problem would not occur in other parts of the garage — and it needed to know in a timely fashion.

“I told him that for each day the garage is off line it is creating a growing financial burden to the university,” wrote Mr. Kanalis in a Sept. 16, 2016 email.

The email was among hundreds of pages of correspondence obtained by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette through the state’s Right-to Know Law.

More than a year later, Vulcan Garage remains closed, which means those parking fees are not available to pay off publicly financed bonds on the $12 million building.…