Insurance — pollution exclusions

Insurance — pollution exclusions

Source:, January 14, 2014
By: Wisconsin Law Journal Staff

Wisconsin Court of Appeals


Insurance — pollution exclusions

This is an insurance coverage dispute concerning a pollution exclusion commonly found in commercial general liability (CGL) insurance policies. Tina and Frederick Preisler filed suit against Kuettel’s Septic Service, LLC; 4 D-K Farm; Duke, Cheryl, Dale, and Doug Kuettel; and Phil’s Pumping and Fab, Inc., alleging the defendants had contaminated their well water by over-spraying septage—a combination of water, urine, feces, and chemicals—and maintaining leaky storage tanks. Several insurers who provided liability coverage for the various defendants were also added to the suit: General Casualty Insurance Company, Regent Insurance Company, Hastings Mutual Insurance Company, Secura Insurance, and Rural Mutual Insurance Company. The Insurers asserted a pollution exclusion found in their policies barred coverage, and the circuit court agreed.

The primary issue on appeal is whether septage is a “pollutant” within the meaning of the pollution exclusions. We hold septage is unambiguously a pollutant. It is a contaminant, an irritant, and a waste substance. We reject the Preislers’ and the Kuettels’ arguments to the contrary and affirm. This opinion will not be published.

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