News and Views

September 16, 2019

Military cleanup of water contamination on bases will top $2 billion

Source: https://www.bellinghamherald.com, September 12, 2019
By Tara Copp

The price tag to clean up contaminated water sources at all military installations is likely to climb higher than the $2 billion original cost estimate, the Pentagon said Thursday.

Defense Secretary Mark Esper in July directed the Pentagon to establish a task force to not only look at the contamination, but begin to assess the health impacts that per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, known commonly as PFAS, may have had on service members, their families and the communities surrounding their bases. Read more.

September 16, 2019

Construction Group Seeks Defense Coverage for Hard Rock Stadium Claims

Source: https://www.lexology.com, September 10, 2019
By: Sergio F. Oehninger and Daniel Hentschel, Hunton Andrews Kurth LLP

In an insurance coverage action pending in the S.D.N.Y., Hunt Construction Group (Hunt) contends that Berkley Assurance Company wrongfully denied defense coverage for claims arising out of the renovation of Hard Rock Stadium (home to the Miami Dolphins and Miami Hurricanes football teams). Read more.

September 16, 2019

Companies deny responsibility for toxic ‘forever chemicals’ contamination

Source: https://www.theguardian.com, September 11, 2019
By: Emily Holden

Chemical company executives have denied responsibility for a category of toxic fluorinated chemicals that have contaminated water supplies around the US and are now found in the bodies of nearly all Americans.

Three companies – the 3M Company, the Chemours Company and DuPont – appeared before US lawmakers in a Tuesday hearing reminiscent of those with tobacco companies in the 1990s. Read more.

September 16, 2019

California woman in semi-comatose state due to mercury poisoning from Mexican skin cream

Source: https://www.nbcnews.com, September 12, 2019
By: Ben Kesslen

A 47-year-old California woman has been in a semi-comatose state for weeks after using a Ponds-labeled skin cream tainted with methylmercury.

It is the first reported case of methylmercury poisoning from a skin cream in the U.S, Sacramento County health officials said. Read more.

September 16, 2019

PFAS: What’s All The PFUSS?

Source: http://www.mondaq.com, September 11, 2019
By: Andrew N. Davis, Matthew Ranelli, Aaron D. Levy, Alfredo G. Fernández and Kristie A. Beahm, Shipman & Goodwin LLP

Any issue that poses the potential for health risks and/or liabilities associated with uncertain regulatory requirements demands corporate attention. Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (“PFAS”), a group of human-made chemicals, have flooded the news cycle, heightened regulatory attention and are ubiquitous. Whether or not a company knowingly made or used such materials, PFAS risk is an issue that requires C-Suite consideration. Read more.

September 9, 2019

Why isn’t the military cleaning up firefighting chemicals?

Source: https://www.burlingtoncountytimes.com, September 8, 2019
By: Kyle Bagenstose

It’s been five years since the military first discovered widespread PFAS contamination at bases in the Philadelphia suburbs, but the chemicals continue to pollute the aquifer and waterways. We asked more than half a dozen experts a simple question: Why? Read more.

September 9, 2019

College of Marin appeal rejected in lawsuit over building project

Source: https://www.marinij.com, September 6, 2019
By: Gary Klien

A state appeals court has rejected an appeal by the Marin Community College District in a failed lawsuit over a major construction project.

The lawsuit involved the new Fine Arts Building at the College of Marin campus in Kentfield. The project was part of the facilities overhaul funded by Measure C, the $249.5 million bond measure passed in 2004. Read more.

September 9, 2019

An inside look at a failed roofing repair

Source: https://www.constructiondive.com, August 14, 2019
By: Kim Slowey

Dive Brief:

  • San Diego State University, inewsource reported, mishandled a $2 million renovation of its College of Professional Studies and Fine Arts building to the point that a former OSHA official called the project, which ended up shutting down the building because of released toxins in the air, “a case study in how not to do projects.”
  • The renovation was supposed to start last summer, but SDSU failed to secure the proper permits in time, so the schedule was changed so that work would begin in early 2019 when students were on break. After heavy rains, crews used Tremfix to seal the many roof leaks, but an aging and malfunctioning HVAC system failed to clear the building of vapors from the chemicals, which entered through nearby fresh air ducts on the roof. Testing revealed that the level of coal tar pitch volatiles was just under OSHA’s safe limit and above the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health’s limits, even though crews tried various methods — some disruptive — to remove the fumes. Read more.
September 9, 2019

Environmental agencies continue to work on Lehigh TCE spill, but contamination will linger for decades to come

Source: https://www.thebatavian.com, September 6, 2019
By: Howard B. Owens

Federal and state environmental agencies are continuing to monitor and work on cleanup of contaminants at the Lehigh Train Derailment Superfund Site off of Gulf Road, according to information obtained by The Batavian.

The elimination of TCE contaminants from groundwater in the four-mile-long plume area, which stretches from Gulf Road to four miles east and southeast of the derailment site, is not likely to occur in most of our lifetimes. Read more.

September 9, 2019

Coast Guard families must exit lead-contaminated LI housing

Source: https://www.newsday.com, September 5, 2019
By: Bart Jones

Four Coast Guard families living at the Northport base say they have been ordered to leave their housing because of lead contamination, but the Coast Guard isn’t doing enough to help them get out. Read more.