Articles

January 10, 2018

Officials identify source of Citico Creek spill, continue cleanup

Source: http://nooga.com, January 10, 2018

Officials identified Norfolk Southern as the source of the fuel spill that emptied more than 1,000 gallons of petroleum into Citico Creek near the mouth of the Tennessee River Monday night.

“The spill originated from DeButts Yard and Norfolk Southern has taken responsibility for the spill and has assured city, state and federal authorities this afternoon that it is making every effort to minimize the impact on Citico Creek and the Tennessee River,” Chattanooga Fire Department spokesman Bruce Garner said in an email.

The spill could be seen and smelled Monday from the Walnut Street Bridge, according to NewsChannel 9.

Norfolk Southern, which is a transportation company that operates railways, has hired several “environmental remediation companies” to do the cleanup work, which is expected to take several days, he also said.…

January 5, 2018

Honeywell to pay $9.5 million for restoration

Source: Post-Standard (Syracuse, NY), December 25, 2017
Posted on: http://www.advisen.com

After decades of pollution that turned Onondaga Lake into a toxic cesspool, Honeywell has agreed to pay $9.5 million in damages and build 20 restoration projects.

The federal Department of Justice filed documents in federal court Wednesday, but the settlement was not announced until after 5 p.m. Friday of the weekend leading into Christmas.

The settlement requires Honeywell to build projects that include trail extensions, habitats for fish and birds, and fishing piers. It ends the decades-long battle to get Honeywell to clean up and restore the damage done to the environment by decades of industrial pollution.

“With this proposed settlement, the communities of Onondaga Lake are one step closer to reclaiming this resource for the people and wildlife that live here,” said David Stilwell, New York field supervisor for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, in a news release issued by the state. “These funds would support both habitat restoration and protection for the benefit of fish and wildlife, as well as improved opportunities for people to enjoy Onondaga Lake.”…

January 5, 2018

District of New Hampshire Declines to Dismiss PFA-Related Property Damage Claims; Undecided on Medical Monitoring Damages

Source: https://www.lexology.com, December 21, 2017
By: Garrett D. Trego, Manko Gold Katcher & Fox

A putative class of plaintiffs who allege to have lived in a defined geographic area around a manufacturing plant in Merrimack, New Hampshire, or have been served by the town’s municipal water supply, sued the manufacturer in federal court, alleging property damage claims and exposure to perfluorooctanoate (AFPO) and perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) that warrants medical monitoring. Brown v. Saint-Gobain Performance Plastics Corp. et al., No. 16-cv-242, 2017 WL 6043956 (D.N.H. Dec. 6, 2017). The plaintiffs’ claims were styled as common law claims for negligence, trespass, nuisance, and negligent failure to warn, as well as an equitable claim for “negative unjust enrichment” on the theory that the manufacturer was unjustly enriched by avoiding costs associated with preventing the release of contaminants. The Court dismissed the unjust enrichment count but allowed the remaining claims to proceed.

The defendant manufacturer’s motion to dismiss primarily targeted the plaintiffs’ damages claims. First, it argued that the allegations of property damage were nebulous and not concrete. Indeed, the plaintiffs alleged generally that PFOA particles contaminated the air, soil, dust, trees, groundwater, and household water systems and supply wells on the plaintiffs’ properties, but appear not to have made specific claims regarding the contamination identified at any plaintiff’s property. Ultimately, the court held that the complaint sufficiently pleaded diminution in property value damages to allow the common law tort claims to proceed. The court did not reach defendants’ argument that New Hampshire’s broad economic loss doctrine prevented recovery of any consequential economic damages beyond diminution.…

December 21, 2017

Framingham reaches $500K settlement with Eversource over polluted site

Source: http://www.metrowestdailynews.com, December 20, 2017
By: Jim Haddadin

Utility provider Eversource will pay the town $500,000 to settle claims it failed to clean up a polluted Southside property it acquired nearly a decade ago.

Selectmen voted during a closed-door meeting Tuesday to accept the company’s settlement offer, which also requires Eversource to clean up lingering pollution at 350 Irving St.

The site, a former gas manufacturing plant, is contaminated with toxic coal tar and other chemicals. Eversource purchased it in 2008, paying a little more than $2 million to acquire it under a tax title payment agreement with the town.

Town Meeting members and selectmen agreed at the time to forgive about $460,000 worth of interest and penalties owed to the town to facilitate the cleanup.

The town contends Eversource failed to meet deadlines for the cleanup. The state Department of Environmental Protection also released a critical audit in 2015, calling on Eversource to further investigate the extent of the contamination. The DEP required Eversource to take additional soil, groundwater, sediment and surface water samples and assess potential risks.…

December 21, 2017

A Cleaner’s Guide To Environmental Liability

Source: Mondaq Business Briefing, December 20, 2017
Posted on: http://www.advisen.com

This article was originally published in the North Carolina Association of Launderers and Cleaners’ carolina clean magazine, Holiday 2017 issue. To view the original publication, click here.

OK, OK, I get it: your mother didn’t raise you to be a lawyer. But the exposure to environmental claims that characterizes many drycleaning operations makes it imperative that cleaners understand something about the legal framework for that liability.

I will deal principally with two federal statutes: the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (“RCRA”) and the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation & Liability Act (“CERCLA”, or “Superfund”). These statutes, the regulations intended to implement them, and the judicial decisions that interpret them, are enormously complicated. Don’t worry about that. This is not a scholarly law review article; I will concentrate on the laws’ potential impacts upon cleaners.…

December 19, 2017

6 companies ordered to continue cleanup of USS Lead site at estimated cost of $26.25 million

Source: http://www.nwitimes.com, December 18, 2017
By: Sarah Reese

EPA works to address concerns as it begins excavation

EPA contractors excavate contaminated soil in October 2016 at a home in East Calumet, which is part of the USS Lead Superfund site in East Chicago. 

The U.S Environmental Protection Agency said Monday it issued two unilateral administrative orders to six companies to clean up soil and indoor dust at the USS Lead Superfund site.

The soil cleanup ordered for zone 2 — the second of three residential cleanup areas at the Superfund site — could cost the potentially responsible parties $24 million, EPA said. The projected cost to complete indoor dust cleanup in zones 2 and 3 was $2.25 million.

EPA issues unilateral orders under several circumstances, including when potentially responsible parties don’t agree to perform cleanup work through a judicial consent decree or an administrative order of consent. Unilateral orders also are issued if potentially responsible parties refuse to perform work they previously agreed to under a settlement agreement.

EPA did not immediately respond to questions about circumstances leading up to the unilateral orders for the USS Lead site.

December 19, 2017

EPA orders companies blamed for East Chicago contamination to pay for cleanup

Source: http://www.chicagotribune.com, December 18, 2017
By: Craig Lyons

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency ordered companies blamed for contamination in East Chicago to take over the cleanup of part of the Calumet neighborhood.

The EPA on Monday announced it filed two unilateral administrative orders against six companies held responsible for the contamination in East Chicago’s Calumet neighborhood, which is a part of the U.S.S. Lead Superfund site.

The orders would compel the companies – U.S.S. Lead, Atlantic Richfield Co., DuPont, Chemours, United States Metals Refining Co. and Mueller Industries – to remediate contaminated soil in Zone 2, which runs from McCook to Huish Drive, and do indoor dust cleaning in that area and Zone 3, which runs east of Huish. The EPA said its staff will oversee the contractors the companies hire to do the work.…

December 15, 2017

Feds reach $4.5 million settlement in Sheboygan River pollution case

Source: http://www.mysheboygan.com, December 15, 2017

According to the federal government, three companies are liable pollution found in the Sheboygan River.

The United States and the State of Wisconsin announced this week that three settlements totaling in excess of $4.5 million with Tecumseh Products Co., Thomas Industries, Inc., and Wisconsin Public Service Corp. to resolve claims for natural resource damages at the Sheboygan River & Harbor Superfund Site brought under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA), also known as the Superfund Law.

The Sheboygan River Site encompasses the lower 14 river miles of the Sheboygan River, from Sheboygan Falls downstream to and including the Sheboygan Harbor in Lake Michigan, as well as adjoining floodplain areas.

According to the complaint, filed simultaneously with the settlement today in the Eastern District of Wisconsin, the three companies are liable for historic industrial discharges of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and/or polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) at the Sheboygan River Site. PCBs and PAHs were identified in river sediments at different locations throughout the Site in sufficient concentrations to cause injury to many types of natural resources, including invertebrates, fish, amphibians, birds, and mammals. In addition, PCB and PAH-contaminated natural resources resulted in the loss of recreational fishing services.…

December 8, 2017

The Impending Expansion of Interim Owner Environmental Liability

Source: https://www.law.com, December 8, 2017
By: Matthew A. Karmel

The logical application of the Spill Act may suggest that the liability it imposes on someone who “owns” real property may extend to an interim owner that fails to qualify as an innocent purchaser.

environmental contamination industrial pollutionA prior owner of environmentally contaminated real property may soon face liability under New Jersey law for historical contamination which it did not contribute to or cause. New Jersey courts previously seemed to agree that the New Jersey Spill Compensation and Control Act (Spill Act) exempted a prior owner of contaminated property from liability for hazardous substances that were discharged on its property before its ownership, unless the prior owner caused or contributed to the contamination. See, e.g., White Oak Funding v. Winning, 341 N.J. Super. 294, 300-01 (App. Div.), certif. denied 170 N.J. 209 (2001). A prior owner that did not cause or contribute to contamination is often referred to as an “interim owner” because it purchased the property after the discharge of contamination took place thereon and has since sold the property to a new owner.…

December 7, 2017

West Hartford Council Members Recommend Terminating Purchase Of UConn Property

Source: http://www.courant.com, December 7, 2017
By: Nicholas Rondinone and Mikaela Porter

Citing costs to clear environmental damage and other potential liabilities, a West Hartford town council subcommittee is recommending the town terminate the purchase of the UConn property, council member Dallas Dodge said Thursday morning.

Town officials notified the university of the subcommittee’s recommendation in a meeting Tuesday, Town Manager Matthew W. Hart said. The recommendation from the bipartisan subcommittee on economic development was expected to be supported by the council when it is voted on next week.

In September, UConn and West Hartford town officials had agreed to a seventh extension before finalizing a $1 million purchase and sale agreement of the 58-acre campus in the area of Asylum Avenue and Trout Brook Drive.

UConn opened its downtown campus in August leaving the West Hartford campus “virtually vacant,” according to Orr’s letter.

The parties had agreed to a Dec. 15 deadline, according to a letter to West Hartford Town Manager Matthew W. Hart from Richard Orr, UConn vice president and general counsel.…