Sheryl Barr

February 14, 2019

Southern Delaware chicken plant spilled up to 1 million gallons of wastewater: State

Source:, February 13, 2019
By: Maddy Lauria

Mountaire Farms has been ordered to clean up to 1 million gallons of partially treated wastewater that spilled into the ground at its chicken plant near Millsboro, state officials said on Wednesday.

The spill was discovered about 5 a.m. on Wednesday and was caused “by mechanical failure of a wastewater system component,” according to a press release issued by the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control nearly 12 hours after the release.

State environmental officials said the leak was contained on Mountaire’s property and did not reach nearby Swan Creek.

“DNREC has directed Mountaire Farms to take all appropriate steps to mitigate this release and minimize any adverse impacts to the environment,” DNREC said in the release. Cleanup efforts are underway, as is an investigation by state regulators, according to the agency.…

February 13, 2019

Quake-damaged middle school has faced design questions since it was built in the early 1980s

Source:, February 12, 2019
By: Matt Tunseth

Engineers had serious questions about whether Gruening Middle School could withstand a powerful earthquake from the time the school was built, according to a collection of news stories written about the school’s troubled construction in the early 1980s.

“A major earthquake would produce significant damage and a possible partial collapse,” at the school, California engineering firm Forell/Elsesser Engineers Inc. wrote in a 1983 report to the Anchorage School District.

The firm was commissioned by the district after consultants determined the building — which was supposed to open in the fall of 1983 — was seriously flawed, news stories said. An investigation found errors in the engineering calculations and pointed out that the plans for the school didn’t receive oversight from Anchorage building inspectors, who some Eagle River builders resisted at the time. The district eventually retrofitted the school (which opened to students in 1984), but Forell/Elsesser warned inherent design flaws would likely always be an issue.

“It is not possible to overcome all deficiencies without major and costly reconstruction,” the company wrote.…

February 12, 2019

Lawmakers Want Exelon Held Responsible for Conowingo Cleanup

Source:, February 11, 2019
By: Josh Kurtz

A bipartisan group of Maryland lawmakers wants Exelon Generation Co., LLC held financially responsible for some of the cleanup costs associated with pollution spilling over the Conowingo Dam, which the energy giant owns.

Del. Jay A. Jacobs (R-Upper Shore) has introduced a non-binding resolution stating the view of the General Assembly that Exelon “must pay a portion of the cleanup costs associated with the dam’s federal certification and at least a certain percent of the costs associated with the Susquehanna River’s Watershed Implementation Plan.”

The hydropower dam on the Susquehanna River, about 10 miles north of where it empties into the Chesapeake Bay, is seen as a major source of bay pollution coming upriver from Pennsylvania and New York. Major floods last summer spilled sediment, nutrients and other pollutants into the bay.…

February 12, 2019

Abandoned Brooklyn gas station blamed for L-train smell contaminated area for decades

Source:, February 11, 2019
By: Clayton Guse

The defunct Brooklyn gas station thought to be the source of last week’s noxious smell on the L train has contaminated local groundwater for decades.

Over the 17 years between 1989 and 2006, the owners of the station at 2 Bushwick Ave., reported five chemical spills to the state Department of Environmental Conservation, public records show.

Gasoline spills in April 1989, January 1992 and January 1999 affected the local groundwater, and another gasoline spill in 2006 seeped into the soil, records show. The records don’t show how much gas was involved in the four spills.

A fifth spill in May 1989 dumped 20 gallons of gasoline into the local sewer system, the data shows.

Representatives from NYC Transit’s environmental and security divisions told the Daily News last week that a fuel tank abandoned at the former Shell outlet in East Williamsburg was the likely culprit of the stench that nauseated riders and hospitalized transit workers.

February 11, 2019

New Beazley Environmental Liability Coverage Targets Banks, Lenders

Source:, February 11, 2019

Specialist insurer Beazley has launched site lender environmental asset protection (SLEAP) cover to protect banks and other lenders from pollution risks that could seriously impair the value of property used as collateral for commercial loans.

In the event of both a loan default and the discovery of environmental contamination on a property, the policy will cover either the estimated clean-up costs or the loan balance, whichever is lower. The policy also pays clean-up costs for environmental contamination at properties owned by the lender as the result of a foreclosure.

In addition, the coverage protects the lender against third party claims for clean-up, bodily injury, property damage, and defense costs associated with the collateral property at all stages of a commercial loan and regardless of whether the loan is in default.…

February 11, 2019

Strategically preparing for construction professional liability risk

Source:, February 11, 2019
By: Walter J. Adams, Jr.

February 8, 2019

San Francisco gas explosion shoots fire that burns buildings

Source:, February 6, 2019

A gas explosion in a San Francisco neighborhood shot flames into the air for hours Wednesday and burned five buildings, sending panicked residents and workers fleeing into the streets.

It took utility crews more than two hours to put out the fire after private construction workers cut a natural gas line, igniting the towering flames, Fire Chief Joanne Hayes-White said. Authorities initially said five workers were missing, but the entire construction crew was found safe, and no other injuries were reported.

Officials evacuated several nearby buildings, including a medical clinic and apartment buildings, Hayes-White said. Vehicles on a busy street got rerouted as authorities cordoned off the bustling retail and residential neighborhood.

The fire damaged a building housing Hong Kong Lounge II, a popular dim sum restaurant frequented by tourists and students at the University of San Francisco that made many “best of” lists.…

February 8, 2019

Builder of collapsed FIU pedestrian bridge had troubling construction failure at Port Everglades

Source:, February 6, 2019
By: Dan Christensen

Two months after last year’s fatal FIU pedestrian bridge collapse in Miami, the company that built the bridge was responsible for a troubling construction failure at Port Everglades.

Munilla Construction Management LLC, which operates as MCM, was hired by Broward County in 2016 as the prime contractor for the Slip 2 expansion project at the north end of the port. The $18-million project, completed in August 2017, saw low-bidder MCM extend the length of the slip about 250 feet to the west and deepen it 50 feet to accommodate larger cruise and cargo ships.

Last May 4, however, something unexpected happened.

“One of the new fenders that MCM installed along Berth 4 fell off the wall this morning and into the Slip,” a port representative told an MCM manager in an email obtained by Florida Bulldog.  “We have already fished it out, and brought it back over to the storage yard, and temporarily hung a tire in that vicinity…This is now causing the Port to be concerned about the other fenders that MCM installed.”…

February 7, 2019

Oil cleanup continues after 200,000 gallon spill at Granite City plant

Source:, February 6, 2019
By: Denise Hollinshed

Cleanup continued Wednesday here after 200,000 gallons of used oil spilled from a company’s storage tanks, a portion of it contaminating nearby ground and the city sewer system, the Illinois Environment Protection Agency said.

The spill prompted the agency to seek an order banning storage of oil at the Future Environmental plant at 2101 Adams Street.

The agency said 500 to 1,000 gallons of the spilled oil escaped the plant’s secondary containment barrier. The oil was released from above-ground tanks at the facility, the Illinois EPA said. The spill was noticed when oil was spotted at a wastewater treatment plant.

“Absorbent booms were placed in the sewers and there is no impact to operations at the (treatment plant),” the agency said in a statement.

Some of the oil also reached a dirt-floor warehouse on a neighboring property, the agency said. The agency didn’t say what caused the spill or if it posed any health risks.…

February 7, 2019

Firefighting foam linked to water contamination across Massachusetts

Source:, February 7, 2019
By: Kathryn Burcham, Jason Solowski

State environmental officials are tracking an emerging threat to drinking water across Massachusetts linked to a firefighting foam used at military installations and airports.

“Back in 2012, 2013 we started showing these contaminates” said Dan Santos, director of the Barnstable Department of Public Works.

Testing revealed toxic levels of chemicals in the soil at the county fire and rescue training academy, only a few hundred yards from the town’s watershed. He says it was from years of use of Aqueous Film Forming Foam (AFFF) at the facility adjacent to the Barnstable Municipal Airport.

“When they use the firefighter foam to put out fires it goes on the ground. That foam which contains these chemicals seeps into the soil and binds to the soil particle and it stays there,” Santos said.

The Environmental Protection Agency recommends a level of 70 parts per trillion (ppt) for two chemical compounds – known as per and poly-fluoroalkyl substances, or PFAS in drinking water.  Santos said they found numbers in the thousands in the soil at the fire training facility.…