News and Views

October 17, 2019

Did Concrete Error Doom Florida Bridge?

Source: https://www.enr.com, October 16, 2019
By: Richard Kor,man and Scott Judy

In their competing accounts of what went wrong before last year’s Florida pedestrian bridge collapse, both the contractor and designer agree on one point: The concrete was never “roughened” at locations where it was required. The process involves altering the material to promote mechanical bonding. Among the most important locations were the key junctures where bridge truss diagonals and verticals met the bridge deck. Read more.

October 17, 2019

In Largest Settlement of Its Kind, Formosa Plastics Agrees to Pay $50 Million

Source: https://www.environmentalleader.com, October 16, 2019
By: Jennifer Nastu

In the largest ever settlement of a Clean Water Act suit brought by private individuals, petrochemical giant Formosa Plastics Corp. has agreed to pay $50 million to fund environmental mitigation in the region around its Point Comfort facility in Calhoun County, Texas.

The company – whose Point Comfort, Texas, plant is said to have discharged billions of plastic pellets into Lavaca Bay and Cox Creek – has also agreed to comply with future “zero discharge” of all plastics and to clean up existing pollution. Read more.

October 17, 2019

‘Emerging’ contamination found in some Oroville and Chico wells

Source: https://www.chicoer.com, October 17, 2019
By: Camille Von Kaenel

At least 17 wells in Chico and Oroville have traces of toxic chemicals linked to cancer, according to new state testing released Monday.

The testing is part of a multi-year effort by California to regulate the class of chemicals, called per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances and perfluorooctanoic acids — shortened to PFAS and PFOA. Read more.

October 17, 2019

Toxic PCBs linger in schools; EPA, lawmakers fail to act

Source: Associated Press, October 16, 2019
Posted on: https://www.advisen.com

At first, teachers at Sky Valley Education Center simply evacuated students and used fans to clear the air when the fluorescent lights caught fire or smoked with noxious fumes. When black oil dripped onto desks and floors, they caught leaks with a bucket and duct-taped oil-stained carpets.

Then came the tests that confirmed their suspicions about the light ballasts. Read more.

October 17, 2019

Philly refinery blast released 5,000 pounds of deadly chemical, federal investigators say

Source: Philadelphia Inquirer, October 16, 2019
Posted on: https://www.advisen.com

Philadelphia dodged several potential catastrophes during a dramatic June 21 refinery blast, which released about 5,239 pounds of a deadly chemical and launched pieces of shrapnel as large as a truck hurtling across the 1,300-acre refinery complex, according to federal findings released Wednesday. Read more.

October 17, 2019

‘This is seriously bad’ Video shows concerns days before Hard Rock hotel collapse

Source: https://www.wwltv.com, October 16, 2019
By: David Hammer

As authorities shifted Wednesday from rescue operations to safely tearing down the dangling wreckage of a half-built Hard Rock Hotel, theories began to take hold over just what compromised the concrete slabs that rose in tiers above Canal and North Rampart streets until they pancaked Saturday morning, killing at least two workers.

Images of the hotel under construction before and after the fatal collapse have fueled speculation of contractor shortcuts and criticism from some workers. Read more.

October 16, 2019

Michigan hospital investigating possible Legionnaires’ disease outbreak

Source: https://www.thedenverchannel.com, October 10, 2019

Officials in Michigan are investigating a possible outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease at a hospital just north of Detroit.

Officials with the Macomb County Health Department and the Michigan Department of Health and Human Service have identified seven possible cases of Legionnaires’ disease at McLaren Macomb Hospital. Read more.

October 16, 2019

Toxic PCBs linger in schools; EPA, lawmakers fail to act

Source: https://phys.org, October 16, 2019
By: Tammy Webber

At first, teachers at Sky Valley Education Center simply evacuated students and used fans to clear the air when the fluorescent lights caught fire or smoked with noxious fumes. When black oil dripped onto desks and floors, they caught leaks with a bucket and duct-taped oil-stained carpets.

Then came the tests that confirmed their suspicions about the light ballasts. Read more.

October 16, 2019

Protecting against in-house design liability

Source: https://www.propertycasualty360.com, October 16, 2019
By: Joseph Nawa

Design-build has become an ever-growing phenomenon within the commercial building industry. As reported on the Design Build Industry of America (DBIA) website, “over half of owners have already or will use design-build in the next five years.” This also represents approximately 44% of the construction spending expected to take place in the nonresidential, highway/street and water/wastewater marketplace by 2021. Read more.

October 16, 2019

Groundwater Under Your Project: What Lies Beneath May Come Back to Haunt You

Source: https://www.lexology.com, October 11, 2019
By: Christine A. Jochim, Andrew L. Meyers and Rick D. Thomas, Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck LLP

Colorado Issues New Draft Dewatering and Remediation Permits

The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) has issued draft general permits addressing groundwater discharges for new and existing projects. As drafted, the new permits are likely to significantly impact new construction and existing buildings throughout the state. Public comments are due to CDPHE by Nov. 12. Read more.