Sheryl Barr

April 25, 2019

Settlement reached in lawsuit over runway overrun collapse

Source:, April 24, 2019

A settlement has been reached in a lawsuit over the 2015 landslide that collapsed a runway safety overrun at Yeager Airport.

The Charleston Gazette-Mail reports Yeager officials say the airport was awarded $14.8 million in the settlement that ends all legal wrangling stemming from the collapse. Of that, about $6 million will go for fees and reimbursements, leaving the airport with about $8.3 million.
Following the collapse, Yeager Airport filed suit against 15 construction, engineering, design, insurance and supply firms involved with building the 240-foot-high earthen structure supporting the safety overrun area. No one was injured in the collapse.

Yeager board Chairman Ed Hill said the settlement vindicates the airport of any wrongdoing.

April 25, 2019

University of Akron sues HNTB, others for $1M ‘catastrophic’ stadium defects

Source:, April 24, 2019
By: Kim Slowey

Dive Brief:

  • The University of Akron in Ohio is suing design-build contractor HNTB Ohioand others who participated in the construction of InfoCision Stadium–Summa Field, alleging it has had to pay $1 million to fix “catastrophic” construction defects plaguing the 10-year-old football stadium. Other defendants include construction manager Welty Building Co., concrete subcontractor Parsons Concrete Contractors, grout subcontractor EPI of Cleveland and Parsons’ and EPI’s sureties.
  • The claims outlined in the lawsuit are related to the stadium railing system’s concrete supports, which the university claims are failing. The university’s lawyers allege that Parsons did not install the specified rebar-secured sleeves — into which the railings were supposed to fit — and that EPI did not grout the railings into place correctly.
  • The 30,000-seat stadium was completed in 2009 at a cost of $61 million.
April 25, 2019

PFAS contamination is Michigan’s biggest environmental crisis in 40 years

Source:, April 25, 2019
By: Keith Matheny

These once-common chemicals are linked to cancer and a host of other ailments. And they may be tainting more than 11,000 sites around Michigan.

Sandy Wynn-Stelt knows it’s too late for herself. The chemicals she drank for perhaps 25 years out of her tap — the ones that now poison her blood at levels 750 times the average American’s — will remain inside her body.

They may naturally work their way out over years, toxicologists say. But no one can tell Wynn-Stelt definitively what her prolonged exposure to massive levels of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances — PFAS, the emerging contaminant causing a rising crisis across Michigan and the country — will mean for her future health.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s health advisory level in drinking water for two of the most common PFAS compounds, known as PFOS and PFOA, is 70 parts per trillion. The levels in Wynn-Stelt’s drinking water tested as high as 76,000 parts per trillion.

Michigan may have more than 11,000 sites contaminated with these once-common chemicals, now linked to cancer and a host of other ailments. Regulators have identified 46 sites statewide with levels above the EPA’s health limit in groundwater.…

April 24, 2019

Georgia-Pacific wants to spread the blame for Parchment PFAS pollution

Source:, April 23, 2019
By: Garret Ellison

In a class action lawsuit filing, Georgia-Pacific is pointing the finger at Michigan regulators and several businesses it says may be at fault for the Parchment water contamination emergency, which affected 3,000 people and has since forced the suburban city to hand its municipal system over to neighboring Kalamazoo.

In the April 19 filing, Georgia-Pacific alleges the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality, or DEQ, (now renamed EGLE), “failed to repair and operate a vandalized lift station needed for leachate collection” at a landfill blamed for the PFAS in Parchment water.

Georgia-Pacific’s “nonparty at fault” list also named Cooper Township, which assumed ownership of the landfill in 2011 after the bankruptcy of Crown Vantage Corp. Named private sector parties include Hercules Inc., Hydro-Extrusion North America and AbsolutAire.

The class action case was filed in November against Georgia-Pacific and Minnesota giant 3M in U.S. District Court in Grand Rapids. Three Parchment residents, David Dykehouse, Kristina Boskovich and Elizabeth Hamblin, are seeking financial compensation and funding to evaluate the health of others exposed to PFAS.…

April 24, 2019

Past Pollution, and How to Pay for It

Source:, April 23, 2019
By: David L. Elkind, Anderson Kill P.C.

Almost any manufacturer can face environmental liability. The liability may stem from the nature of the product being manufactured, but it also may derive from chemicals used to clean the manufacturing equipment, changes made to the product after it leaves the manufacturer’s hands—or, in the case of a chemical manufacturer, in the way its product ultimately is used.

Often, liability emerges for underground pollution that began decades ago and may have continued for years or decades. The fact that the activities were legal at the time—and the manufacturer not negligent then—are irrelevant. Under federal and state environmental laws, liability arises today based on current environmental concerns—and liability is strict, meaning without negligence or fault. Cleanup often is required of chemicals exceeding standards of parts per million or even billion, levels that may not have been capable of being measured when the manufacturing occurred.

April 23, 2019

Pollution cleanups planned for two dry cleaning sites

Source:, April 19, 2019
By: Brian Nearing

Toxic chemicals will be dug out of two vacant former dry cleaners sites in Schenectady and Watervliet, under plans announced by the state Department of Environmental Conservation.

The property around the former Admiral Cleaners, 617 19th St., Watervliet, and the former Kenwood Cleaners, 445 Duane Ave.,

Schenectady, are tainted with high levels of a carcinogenic dry cleaning solvent, tetrachloroethene (PCE), and related toxic byproducts.

Exposure to PCE likely increases cancer risk, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Primary effects from chronic, long-term inhalation exposure are neurological, including impaired cognitive and motor neurobehavioral performance, according to EPA.

PCE exposure may also “cause adverse effects in the kidney, liver, immune system and hematologic system, and on development and reproduction,” according to the EPA.

April 23, 2019

PFAS-related suits gain steam as litigants hit Wolverine Worldwide

Source:, April 18, 2019
By: Leonard N. Fleming

Some of the nation’s high-profile environmental law firms, along with Michigan-based ones, are waging legal battles related to PFAS contamination in the state after decades of waste dumping by a popular shoe manufacturer that has seeped into private wells.

The civil lawsuits over per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, the so-called forever chemicals, have been grinding away quietly for months. Depositions are being taken of employees and top officials of Wolverine Worldwide, 3M and others involved in the toxic contamination cases that have gripped west Michigan over possible health risks for more than a year.

PFAS has links to health risks such as thyroid disease, increased cholesterol levels, and kidney and testicular cancers. State officials are conducting a two-year assessment of the blood serum and drinking water samples from roughly 800 Kent County residents, half of which have been exposed to high PFAS levels through their water supply and half of which have low to no PFAS in their water.…

April 23, 2019

3,600-gallon sulfuric acid spill reported at Cornerstone Chemical near Waggaman

Source:, April 22, 2019

A broken flange on a pipe is believed to be the cause of a spill of 3,600 gallons of sulfuric acid that occurred at the Cornerstone Chemical Co.facility at Waggaman on April 11, according to a state environmental official.

The spill was reported by Cornerstone to both the Coast Guard National Response Center and state officials just after midnight April 12, Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality spokesman Gregory Langley said Friday (April 19).

As of Monday, no report on the spill or its cleanup had been filed in DEQ’s Electronic Document Management System, an online repository for official records that have been created or received by the agency.

Cornerstone officials did not respond Monday to a request for information about the spill.

A summary of the company’s report to the National Response Center was posted on the web site of Skytruth, an environmental group that tracks chemical and oil accidents reported to the Coast Guard.…

April 23, 2019

Three people diagnosed with Legionnaires’ disease after visiting hotel water park in Casselton

Source:, February 22, 2019
By: Phoenix Bauer

Three individuals have been diagnosed with Legionnaires’ disease after visiting a hotel water park in Casselton, according to a release by the North Dakota Department of Health.

The release states that the three people were diagnosed between July 2018 and January 2019 and all used the water park at the Days Inn of Casselton prior to being diagnosed.

The Department of Health took water and sand samples from the hotel in early January and one of the samples from the spa contained Legionella bacteria, which spreads and causes Legionnaire’s disease.

The hotel cleaned and disinfected the spa and a new sample taken from the spa on Jan. 31 tested negative for the bacteria, according to the release. A third test done on the spa water on Feb. 13 tested positive again for the bacteria, according to the health department.

April 22, 2019


Source:, April 19, 2019

The Department of Justice and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced a settlement with Honeywell International Inc., and International Paper Co., for cleanup of contaminated soils and sediments at the LCP-Holtrachem plant in Riegelwood.

The United States brought its action under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA), also known as the Superfund Law, and the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA).

The LCP-Holtrachem Superfund Site  is about 24 acres adjacent to the Cape Fear River at 636 John Riegel Road. From 1963 to 2000, the LCP-Holtrachem plant made chemicals such as sodium hydroxide, liquid chlorine, hydrogen gas, liquid bleach and hydrochloric acid using a mercury cell process.

According to the complaint, filed simultaneously with the settlement Thursday in the Eastern District of North Carolina, the two companies are liable for historic industrial discharges of metals, including mercury, and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) at the Site.

“This settlement incisively corrects historic environmental issues impinging on the Cape Fear River,” said Assistant Attorney General Jeffrey Bossert Clark of the Department of Justice’s Environment and Natural Resources Division. “The Department of Justice will continue to work with its partners at EPA to ensure that companies are held accountable for past environmental damage as required by CERCLA.”…