News and Views

August 16, 2019

Mold Cleanup, Repairs at a School Gym in Westfield May Shift Some Activities

Source: https://www.tapinto.net, August 16, 2019
By: Roman Chiarello

Repairs are underway at McKinley Elementary School following the discovery of moisture and mold underneath the gymnasium floor, something school district officials do not anticipate completing before the beginning of the academic year.

District officials had initially ordered repairs of the gym floor, but when workers found mold underneath the flooring, the scope of the initial project expanded, School Business Administrator Dana Sullivan said during a special meeting of the school board Thursday morning.  Read more.

August 16, 2019

City, airport sue chemical makers over toxins found in Sioux Falls groundwater

Source: https://www.argusleader.com, August 15, 2019
By: Patrick Anderson

Sioux Falls officials have filed federal lawsuits against a number of companies, including 3M and DuPont, for toxic chemicals discovered in the city’s groundwater.

Documents filed in June in the U.S. District Court for South Carolina allege chemical-makers tested for and were aware of health risks of compounds used in a firefighting foam that for decades was tested and stored at the Sioux Falls Regional Airport. Read more.

 

August 15, 2019

Heritage Landing Couple Says In $10 Million Lawsuit That Mold In Residence Made Them Sick, House Not Habitable

Source: https://www.chattanoogan.com, August 14, 2019

A couple that bought a condominium at the upscale Heritage Landing on the Tennessee River said mold under the house made them sick and the house no longer habitable.

Tim and Muffy Mitch are suing the Heritage Landing Condominium Association, Morris Property Management, PDM Engineering, Mack McCarley of PDM, Precise Plumbing, Charles Reynolds of Precise Plumbing, Reliable Heating and Air and Alternative Actions, Inc. Read more.

August 15, 2019

Additional cleanup efforts begin at Chesterfield schools after discovery of Legionella bacteria

Source: https://www.nbc12.com, August 6, 2019

Cleanup with additional contractors is set to begin Aug. 13 at schools with cooling towers in Chesterfield County.

“Chesterfield County Public Schools is working with three independent contractors to accelerate a schedule to clean and provide preventative maintenance to water cooling towers found outside on school grounds, in light of Legionella bacteria recently found in cooling towers at Falling Creek Middle, Midlothian Middle and Greenfield Elementary,” Chesterfield County Schools said in a news release on Aug. 9. Read more.

August 15, 2019

Atlanta hotel outbreak places spotlight on Legionnaires’ disease

Source: https://www.healio.com, August 15, 2019

The Sheraton Atlanta Hotel evacuated guests on July 15 due to an outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease that killed one person and may have infected dozens of others. The hotel has voluntarily remained closed until the source of the outbreak is located, according to the Georgia Department of Public Health. Read more.

August 15, 2019

Toxic Chemicals Found In Ground Water, Vapors Below Twin Cities Plant

Source: https://minnesota.cbslocal.com, August 14, 2019
Bu: Jennifer Mayerle

There are new developments surrounding a manufacturing plant that released a cancer-causing chemical into the air for years.

We now know chemicals were found on Water Gremlin‘s property in White Bear Township. Experts found the toxic chemical TCE in shallow ground water and in vapors below the plant. Before, we only knew it had been released into the air. Read more.

August 14, 2019

Mold causes $27K in damages at ESD

Source: https://www.thealpenanews.com, August 14, 2019
By: Julie Goldberg

Mold found last month at the Alpena-Montmorency-Alcona Educational Service District building will cost the district $27,000 in damages.

Superintendent Scott Reynolds said Tuesday $15,000 of mold removal will be 100% covered by insurance, but the district will pay $12,000 for new siding. Mold was found in July when crews were doing minor renovations to the building. Read more.

August 14, 2019

Wrong place, wrong time!

Source: https://www.greatamericaninsurancegroup.com, Environmental Insider Summer 2019

Be ready when life happens. These real estate claim situations illustrate the variety of environmental exposures that could affect your customers!

barrel with alert icon

Looking to expand their operations, a company purchased a large piece of property that seemed suitable for redevelopment. Prior to their purchase, the company went through proper due diligence and conducted a Phase I site assessment. The Phase I did not note any known contamination onsite, but as the company began construction, they discovered petroleum contamination from an unknown heating oil tank. As a result, construction halted and the company had to incur remediation expense.

 

bag with toxic icon next to trash can

The insured was an owner of an upscale shopping center. A dry cleaner tenant located in the shopping center was failing to adequately contain perchloroethylene (PCE) solvent canisters. The canisters were improperly stored in an exterior trash container, and over time the PCE leaked and migrated off-site. The PCE flow contaminated several adjacent residential properties, requiring extensive cleanup. The residents of the effected properties filed bodily injury and property damage claims against the dry cleaner and the owner of the shopping center.

 

hose with liquid icon

A road contactor was hired to apply a sealing coat to a new concrete garage next to a hospital. During the application of the sealant, fumes migrated into the hospital’s air intake system. Several patients and hospital staff were overcome by the fumes and became ill. Lawsuits were filed alleging bodily injury and asserting damages in excess of one million dollars.

 

 

ventilation icon

The second floor of an office building was undergoing renovation. Tenants working on the non-renovated floor complained about exposure to dust and other airborne toxins. A week later, tenants expressed that they were experiencing headaches and dizziness. Shortly thereafter, the tenants filed suit against the contractors alleging bodily injury arising from airborne contaminants entering the ventilation systems.

August 14, 2019

Environmental Insurance Protection: Building on the Past to Handle Both New Regulations and Regulatory Reopeners

Source: https://www.greatamericaninsurancegroup.com, Environmental Insider Summer 2019

The environmental insurance market continues to grow by adopting past best practices to handle new and emerging risks.  Working together with diverse practice groups in law, brokerage, engineering, and the sciences; environmental insurance serves a critical client need on property transactions and contractors risks.

Standard industry practices evolve on a wide variety of practice fronts due to the commonality of commercial property transactions between corporate entities. On the environmental front, one of the most common ways corporations protect themselves and others is by conducting a Phase I Environmental Site Assessment.

History of the Phase I

Prior to Congress amending the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA, commonly known as Superfund) in 2002, Phase I studies developed numerous styles in response to the strict, joint and multiple liabilities written into CERCLA when first enacted in 1980.  With the lack of standardization, Phase I Site Assessments greatly varied.  Some were simple checklists and others followed more detailed approaches. The assessments were offered for both single, one-off transactions and large parties with reoccurring needs.…

August 14, 2019

How Premises Pollution Policies Can Benefit Site Owners

Source: https://www.greatamericaninsurancegroup.com, Environmental Insider Summer 2019

With continued public and regulatory attention on emerging contaminants such as Poly and Perfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) and 1, 4-dioxane, environmental insurance should be a ‘must-have’ for owners facing pollution exposure. However, the status of the emerging regulations or even the facility regulatory lifecycle phase, can significantly alter the nature of the coverage available.

The following case studies illustrate how insureds can be impacted by emerging contaminants and how premise pollution policies come into play in various scenarios.

Case Study: From Legal to Illegal

In 2008, a molded rubber manufacturer obtained a permit to operate groundwater extraction wells for irrigation and non-contact cooling water, which discharged to an on-site dry well.

No testing was required under the discharge permit – however, the permit prohibited discharge of water with exceedances of any regulated contaminant. The facility operated under the permit without violations for over a decade.