Sheryl Barr

April 17, 2019

Salesforce Transit Center’s inspection missed flaws that led to cracked beams

Source:, March 20, 2019
By: Kim Slowey

Dive Brief:

  • After a March 14 meeting of the Transbay Joint Powers Authority, Executive Director Mark Zabaneh told reporters that two cracked beams, which led to the ongoing shutdown of the $2.2 billion Salesforce Transit Center, were the result of a “failure of quality control in the construction process,” according to the San Francisco Chronicle.
  • Four layers of inspections conducted by steel fabricator Herrick, steel installer Skanska, general contractor Webcor-Obayashi and the authority’s quality-assurance contractor Turner Construction failed to detect that the grinding necessary to prevent cracking of steel members had not been carried out, Zabaneh said. The grinding of welding access holes prior to welding would have eliminated the small cracks that led to larger fissures in the two steel beams, according to an authority consultant.
  • Zabaneh said that this quality control failure led to the review of “tens of thousands” of construction and inspection documents to make sure that no other major flaws had gone undetected. About 85% of the records had been examined as of March 14 and no additional problems with the structure had been found.
April 16, 2019

Lawrence Aviation, owner ordered to pay $48.1 million for cleanup

Source:, April 15, 22019
By: Carl MacGowan

The 126-acre Lawrence Aviation site, on Sheep Pasture Road, was declared a federal Superfund site in 2000 and closed in 2003.

A Central Islip federal judge on Monday ordered the owners of a Superfund site in Port Jefferson Station to pay $48.1 million to remove hazardous chemicals and shrink a toxic plume caused by the shuttered airplane parts factory.

U.S. District Judge Joan M. Azrack said evidence presented at a trial showed Lawrence Aviation and owner Gerald Cohen were responsible for discharging pollutants that contaminated groundwater and caused a mile-long toxic plume under Port Jefferson Village.

The 126-acre Lawrence Aviation site, on Sheep Pasture Road, was declared a federal Superfund site in 2000 and closed in 2003. The federal Environmental Protection Agency is supervising a cleanup of the site that is expected to take at least another decade.

The cleanup so far has removed more than 18,000 tons of soil contaminated with polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), asbestos and other hazardous material, federal prosecutors said.

Cohen could not be reached for comment.

April 16, 2019

How Insurance Companies Try to Use Past Events to Defeat Coverage of New Claims

Source:, April 12, 2019
By: John Corbett, Barnes & Thornburg LLP

Liability insurance policies tend to fall into one of two categories based on the trigger of coverage: occurrence and claims-made policies. Generally speaking, under an occurrence policy, coverage is triggered if the underlying accident (i.e., the “occurrence”) for which a party seeks to hold the policyholder liable takes place while the policy is in effect, regardless of when the subsequent claim I made. In contrast, under a claims-made policy, coverage is triggered if a claim (usually defined as a written demand for relief) against the policyholder is first made and reported to the insurance company during the policy period, regardless of when the underlying “wrongful acts” that gave rise to the claim took place.

Armed with this generalized understanding of how claimsmade policies operate, a policyholder may be lulled into thinking that, once a claim has been made and properly reported to the insurance company during the policy period, the timing of events before the policy period will have little if any impact on coverage.

This could be a dangerous assumption. Insurance companies frequently reserve the right to deny – or deny outright – coverage of claims made during the policy period on the basis of provisions in their policies that pertain in one way or another to events predating the policy period. Understanding some of the more common ways insurance companies try to do this can forewarn and forearm corporate policyholders in their efforts to overcome these arguments.…

April 15, 2019

State proposes $8.31 million Superfund cleanup of former recycling facility in Granville

Source:, April 15, 2019
By: Gwendolyn Craig

The state has extended its public comment period for an $8.31 million proposed cleanup of a former recycling plant that contaminated the ground with PCBs and heavy metals.

The state Superfund site at 24 county Route 26, also known as Church Street, was the former Katzman recycling and smelting facility, operating from 1949 to 2007, according to a state Department of Environmental Conservation fact sheet.

The facility used to accept auto parts, carburetors, chain saws, heavy equipment, capacitors and other industrial parts. There had been an incinerator on the site, according to the DEC, and the southern end of the property had a waste pit.

The 20-acre parcel is listed on the State Registry of Inactive Hazardous Waste Sites and is considered a threat to public health or the environment, making a cleanup action required. The threats are from polychlorinated biphenyls, or PCBs, and metals including arsenic, cadmium and chromium. PCBs are considered a probable human carcinogen.…
April 15, 2019

Lander gas station cited for leak that contaminated Popo Agie River

Source:, April 12, 2019
By: Heather Richards

A Lander gas station has been cited for contaminating the Popo Agie River with gasoline, the Department of Environmental Quality decided Friday.

The Maverik Country Store overfilled its underground gasoline storage tanks, causing the fuel to migrate to the river banks, according to the Department of Environmental Quality. The department filed a notice of violation Friday afternoon against Maverik Inc. for failing to make repairs that would prevent overfilling its underground tanks.

Locals first noticed gas fumes from the river as it flowed through town earlier this month and responders located sheen on the surface of the river. Local, state and federal officials have spent the last few weeks investigating, containing the gasoline seeps and attempting to limit further pollution of the stream in downtown Lander.

Previous concerns had been raised regarding Maverik’s storage tanks being placed so close to the water, and local frustration has blossomed following the river’s contamination.

But until Friday, it was unconfirmed that the gasoline had come from the gas station tanks.

A response team from the Environmental Protection Agency has been constructing a concrete barrier to contain the two identified seeps. The Department of Environmental Quality has been leading the investigation into the cause of the contamination.

The department has issued a delivery prohibition order, meaning the station cannot fill those tanks. The station must make repairs on the underground tanks, that first must be approved by the department. The “red tag order” preventing delivery to the tanks will be lifted when state regulators have inspected and approved repairs to the tanks.

The company has 10 days to appeal by petitioning for a hearing before the Environmental Quality Council — a volunteer board appointed by the governor and approved by the Wyoming Senate that oversees contested environmental cases.

Calls to a Department of Environmental Quality spokesman and the onsite coordinator for the Environmental Protection Agency were not returned by Friday evening.…

April 15, 2019

Firefighting foam leaks into Silver Stream from Stewart Airport hangar

Source:, April 15, 2019

Firefighting foam was released from a Stewart International Airport hangar into the environment due to an equipment malfunction on Saturday, authorities said.

Newburgh city officials were notified of the leakage on Sunday by airport representatives, who said the foam has made its way into surface water,  including Silver Stream.

The state Department of Environmental Conservation is on-site monitoring the situation and an environmental contractor is working to clean up the contamination.

Newburgh Mayor Torrance Harvey said the investigation is continuing.

“It is my understanding that it’s the Port Authority’s responsibility,” Harvey said. “It’s some sort of foam; they have a chemist on-site at Silver Stream testing the foam. We don’t know exactly what the chemical is.”

It was firefighting foam that was determined to have been leaking into the surface streams and polluting the City of Newburgh’s reservoir, Washington Lake.

Interim City Manager Joseph Donat said the city does not get its drinking water from that contaminated area and tap water remains safe to drink.

“The incident over the weekend has not contaminated the city’s water sources,” Donat said. “… Regarding its water back in 2016, we immediately closed the gate to Washington Lake. That gate has still remained closed and ever since then the city has either been on Brown’s Pond or Catskill Aqueduct water, both of which are safe.”

The manager said the city is “committed to ensuring the quality of its watershed and sent personnel to review the situation.”

Donat said this latest incident demonstrates the city’s former drinking watershed “continues to remain vulnerable to sources of contamination present within the watershed.” He noted the city council had previously passed a resolution prohibiting the use of Washington Lake as a source of drinking water for the city and remains united in its position.…

April 12, 2019

DEQ: $250K cleanup underway at old cleaners

Source:, April 12, 2019
By: Sheri McWhirter

Tetrachloroethane remediation system installed in Traverse City

A new pollutant mitigation system is up and running in a downtown Traverse City building.

A dry-cleaning business called Coddington Cleaners operated out of 124 N. Maple St. until 2009 when the building was sold.

State environmental officials and hired environmental consultants on Monday installed a piping system designed to pump out volatile gas contamination left behind by the business beneath the structure, where today jewelry designer Kim Bazemore creates her metalworking pieces.

For years dryers were vented outside the building while the dry cleaner was in business, and over time dry-cleaning fluid called tetrachloroethane, often known by the acronym PCE, leached into the soil and eventually beneath the building’s concrete floor.

Officials with the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality learned about the contamination when a baseline environmental assessment was completed 10 years ago when Bazemore bought the commercial property.

April 11, 2019

Cause of gas leak at Circle K found

Source:, April 11, 2019
By: Mary Ann Greier

A faulty leak detection valve appeared to be the culprit for a gasoline leak at Circle K East which seeped into the basement of a neighboring home on Woodland Avenue, according to Salem Fire Chief Scott Mason.

Mason reported Wednesday that’s what he learned in his conversations with Ohio Environmental Protection Agency staff and contractors at the scene, which was confirmed by OEPA spokesman James Lee, who during a phone conversation with the Salem News said the source of the leak had been found.

He said a vaccuum truck was removing any pooled gasoline and workers would begin the process of removing contaminated soil. Contractors on the premises included American Environmental, hired by Circle K to handle the site survey and determine how to clean up the gasoline and conduct the remediation, and Tanknology, which conducted a pressure test on the tanks and the gas lines, according to Mason.

Mason said the gasoline was being removed from the inspection wells. He explained that a different contractor on the scene Tuesday reported not finding any gasoline in inspection wells for the tanks, but when the OEPA performed it’s own inspection, gasoline was found in the inspection wells. Mason said that means gasoline was present that shouldn’t have been, outside the tanks, and it was getting into the basement next door.…

April 11, 2019

PFAS found at Gordie Howe International Bridge site in Detroit

Source:, April 11, 2019
By: Paula Gardner

Michigan’s search for PFAS contamination now touches the Gordie Howe International Bridge, where multiple samples over four months on the Detroit side of the project showed the chemicals in both soil and groundwater.

Now officials are ensuring that plans for soil movement and stormwater address the presence of the per- and poly-fluorinated chemicals as pre-construction activity accelerates this month.

The contamination discovery is not slowing the pace of the $4.4 billion project.

So far, “there have been no construction delays nor timeline adjustment because of the testing,” said Michigan Department of Transportation communications director Jeff Cranson.

The Gordie Howe International Bridge over the Detroit River will be a third Detroit-based border crossing between the U.S. and Canada, and a major transportation hub to connect Canada’s Highway 401 with I-75.

The project is under way in Detroit’s DelRay neighborhood, where 190 acres comprised of former residential, commercial and industrial parcels were consolidated into the construction site.…

April 11, 2019

Lawsuit filed against firms in Fraser sewer collapse

Source:, April 9, 2019
By: Sarah Rahal

A lawsuit has been filed against three companies in connection with a sewer line collapse in Fraser that cost $75 million to repair.

Officials say the Macomb Interceptor Drain Drainage District filed the lawsuit Tuesday and seeks to recoup losses from the Christmas Eve 2016 collapse.

The broken line along 15 Mile caused a football field-sized sinkhole. Three houses had to be condemned. The sinkhole displaced more than 20 families during the holiday and closed a section of 15 Mile on the border between Fraser and Clinton Township for nearly all of 2017, officials said.

Macomb Public Works Commissioner Candice Miller said earlier this year that an assessment determined a quick release of waste and water into a sewer line fractured the pipe, which drew in sand and created a void in the surrounding soil.

A lawsuit has been filed against three companies in connection with a sewer line collapse in Fraser that cost $75 million to repair.

Officials say the Macomb Interceptor Drain Drainage District filed the lawsuit Tuesday and seeks to recoup losses from the Christmas Eve 2016 collapse.…