Articles

June 25, 2019

Buried toxins found in more Dartmouth locations as more soil tests reveal PCBs

Source: https://www.southcoasttoday.com, June 25, 2019
By: Jennette Barnes

Contaminated soil has been uncovered at new locations in the Bliss Corner neighborhood as part of a state investigation into industrial waste found in the area last year.

Tests show four new places on McCabe, East Wordell and Donald Streets where toxic waste exceeds residential standards, plus additional locations where contaminants were detected but fall within the standards.

The Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection began investigating industrial waste and other hazards in the soil last year after drums of waste were discovered buried on a house lot at 85 McCabe Street. Subsequent testing revealed polychlorinated biphenyls, or PCBs, at more than 900 times the state standard at 20 Kraseman St., where a house was under construction.

The discovery sparked widespread concern about the health risks, and DEP hired a contractor to conduct soil borings at 18 locations on town-owned rights-of-way in the neighborhood.

The results show PCBs at more than eight times the residential standard at the south end of Donald Street, along with elevated levels of lead. High lead was also found on East Wordell Street and at a location on McCabe Street, east of Carlton Street.…

June 24, 2019

Design-build Trends, Challenges and Risk Mitigation

Source: https://www.constructionexec.com, June 16, 2019
By: Bill Webb, RT Specialty, National Environmental and Construction Professional Practice

As the commercial construction industry continues to evolve and grow, design-build methodologies are becoming increasingly popular for their ability to speed completion rates, control costs and produce an overall more efficient process under the guidance of the design-build contractor (DBC).

The Design-Build Institute of America (DBIA) predicts that “over half of owners have already or will use design-build in the next five years” due to the opportunities it provides for innovation and fast-tracking projects. The organization also expects that design build methodologies will account for approximately 45% of all nonresidential construction spending over the 2018 – 2021 forecast period.

Design-build provides many benefits to projects owners, however, holding contractual responsibility for both design and construction does accompany its fair share of challenges and risks for the DBC. Although basic risk management principles are inherent to design build through improved communication and collaboration, strong contractual language and proper insurance programs can greatly control risk exposures.…

June 20, 2019

PFAS chemical contamination will cost Alaska millions

Source: https://www.juneauempire.com, June 20, 2019
By: Ben Hohenstatt

Addressing chemical contamination comes at a price

PFAS contamination is a widespread problem in Alaska and the U.S., and addressing it is going to be costly.

Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are a group of super-resilient, man-made chemicals, which according to the Environmental Protection Agency, are associated with low infant birth weights, cancer, thyroid hormone disruption and negative effects on the immune system. They’ve been found in soil and groundwater around the country and state, including in YakutatGustavus and Fairbanks.

In Juneau, soil and water samples were taken near Juneau’s Hagevig Regional Fire Training Center to test for PFAS, but results are not yet available, said Lori Sowa, project manager for City and Borough of Juneau. Testing is also planned at Juneau International Airport. Sampling at the Juneau training center cost $19,218 and was paid for out of the Capital City Fire/Rescue operating budget, Sowa said.

But it’s not the only entity that’s had to foot PFAS-related bills this year.…

June 20, 2019

ADG Insights | PFAS contamination: An emerging threat and liability

Source: http://www.mondaq.com, June 19, 2019
By: Scott H. Reisch, Marta Antonina Orpiszewska and REbecca H. Umhofer, Hogean Lovells

Introduction

Companies operating in the aerospace, defense, and government services (ADG) industry are increasingly being impacted by regulatory scrutiny of a group of man-made materials called per- and poly-fluorinated alkylated substances (PFAS). Beginning in the 1970s, PFAS were widely used in firefighting foam at military bases, airports, and large industrial facilities. These facilities are therefore especially susceptible to PFAS contamination. ADG companies that have historically used PFAS, including in firefighting operations, may be responsible for environmental clean-up of military sites and may be susceptible to other PFAS-related liabilities that we discuss further below.

The impact of PFAS on human health and the environment is currently not well understood, but some scientists have identified these chemicals as suspect carcinogens and some studies link them to reproductive disorders. Alleged health impacts caused by PFAS have been prominently featured in the news media. Recent attention on these “emerging contaminants” has focused public attention on the widespread presence of these contaminants in the environment and in drinking water sources in the United States and internationally.…

June 19, 2019

Toxic Foam Spill In Connecticut’s Farmington River Involves PFAS Chemicals

Source: https://thepublicsradio.org, June 19, 2019

There’s growing concern over a chemical spill into the Farmington River that happened earlier this month. An accident June 9 at Bradley Airport released 50,000 gallons of firefighting foam containing chemicals known as PFAS — and a substantial amount of it made its way from the sewer system into the waterway. In the days since it’s become evident that it’s going to be very hard to contain and remove the chemicals from the spill. New Hampshire Public Radio’s environment reporter Annie Ropeik has covered the issue of PFAS pollution around the region for several years. She joined Connecticut Public Radio to tell us more about these chemicals.

What are they?

It’s a really broad class of thousands of industrial chemicals that were used for decades in all kinds of products — think Teflon, Gore-Tex, stain-resistant carpets, greaseproof packaging for food — really I think of it as anything that resists something, so water, heat or grease. Or in the case of firefighting foams, they are flame retardant. Even though PFAS chemical production in the U.S. has ramped down in the past couple of decades, places like airports and military bases will have vast stores of these foams in their sprinkler systems.

How large an environmental risk does a spill like this pose?

June 18, 2019

Air Force diverted $66 million from other projects for PFAS cleanup

Source: https://www.csindy.com, June 17, 2019
By: Faith Miller

In March, the top Democrat on the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee asked the Department of Defense for details about funding diverted from other projects to pay for cleanup and testing for PFAS, a toxic group of man-made chemicals used in military firefighting foam.

On June 5, the DoD responded to Sen. Tom Carper of Delaware by acknowledging that the Air Force had diverted $66.6 million from other projects to pay for PFAS-related efforts. The Army and Navy did not have to divert any funding, according to the DoD’s letter.

Many of the projects put on hold involved cleaning up other pollution at former Air Force sites.

They included a $37 million landfill cap repair and soil remediation project at Galena Air Force Station in Alaska, a $8.6 million radiological cleanup at McClellan Air Force Base in California, and $4.5 million groundwater bioremediation and landfill cap repair at Wurtsmith Air Force Base in Michigan.…

June 17, 2019

Second lawsuit filed over Legionnaires’ outbreak at Mount Carmel Grove City

Source: https://www.dispatch.com, June 15, 2019
By: Kevin Stankiewicz

A second lawsuit against Mount Carmel Grove City hospital was filed Friday by one of the 16 people who contracted Legionnaires’ disease there.

The negligence lawsuit comes a day after Mount Carmel said the disease outbreak originated in the facility’s hot water system and resulted from inadequate disinfection.

Anna Hillis, 59, of Grove City, contracted Legionnaires’ disease while visiting her brother-in-law at the hospital, according to the lawsuit filed in Franklin County Common Pleas Court. Hillis spent time at the hospital between May 14 and 16, often sitting below the air conditioning vent in the patient’s room, the lawsuit says. Hillis also washed her hands a few times.

Hillis began showing symptoms of the severe form of pneumonia on May 25. Her Legionnaires’ disease diagnosis was confirmed on June 4. She is still using supplemental oxygen therapy, the lawsuit states.

“I was shocked and wasn’t sure how serious it was until they started talking about it,” Hillis said Friday at the Brewery District office of her attorney, David Shroyer. Hillis said she started feeling weak, with pain in her abdomen, and told her sister, “Something’s not right.”

Here’s what we know about the Legionnaires’ outbreak, two weeks after it was announced:…

June 17, 2019

Cleanup Ongoing for Accidental Hazmat Spill in Hamel, Ill.

Source: https://www.govtech.com, June 14, 2019
By: Scott Cousins

According to a news release from the Illinois Department of Public Health and IEPA, people who were in the area when the release occurred, or later that evening, may have been exposed to the product.

Officials say residents who may have been directly exposed to dust that may contain hazardous materials released after an accidental spill in Hamel on Tuesday should consult a health-care provider.

Others, authorities say, should wash off cars, houses and children’s play areas in the affected area.

About 1,000 pounds of electric arc furnace dust — a byproduct of steel manufacturing or smelting — spilled at the intersection of West State and Hamel avenues at about 10:55 a.m. Tuesday.

Tony Falconio, logistics coordinator for Madison County Emergency Management Agency, said the spill occurred when the driver of a tractor-trailer from Peoria Disposal Co. made a quick stop and the load shifted, spilling material from the covered truck.

“One of the major components we were concerned about was cadmium (a heavy metal),” Falconio said.…

June 17, 2019

Environmental Closure Costs Are Covered! (And Are Not Ordinary Costs of Doing Business)

Source: https://www.jdsupra.com, June 14, 2019
By: Mark Plumer, Pillsury – Policyhold Pulse Blog

Insurers have recently argued that environmental property damage claims for “closure” costs arising out of historic pollution are not covered, because the claimed damages are just “ordinary costs of doing business.” Policyholders should strongly resist denials based on this argument, which is unsupported custom and practice in the insurance industry and contradicts the terms of standard-form third-party liability policies, applicable environmental laws, and insurance law in nearly all jurisdictions.

Manufacturing companies with long operating histories almost certainly have or will face liability from historic environmental property damage. Coverage for these long-tail environmental claims is not new. For roughly 40 years, courts across the United States have addressed whether insurance coverage is available for such claims under pre-1986 occurrence-based insurance policies.

Most of the underlying environmental claims at issue in these cases were asserted under the Comprehensive Environmental Response Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA), a federal statute addressing hazardous wastes left in abandoned or inactive sites, or equivalent state statutes. These laws impose strict, retroactive liability. For the most part, insurers grudgingly concede that CERCLA claims were unexpected and are not ordinary costs of doing business.…

June 14, 2019

‘The polluter should pay:’ Pennsylvania bill aims to ease PFAS-related drinking water charges

Source: https://www.nationofchange.org, June 14, 2019
By: Jessi Quinn Alperin

Proposed legislation would use funds from development on contaminated sites to help offset costs of cleaning tainted drinking water.

In response to chemical contamination from a naval station in his district, Representative Todd Stephens, a Pennsylvania House Representative from Montgomery County, is pushing for legislation that would remove the financial pressure on citizens to clean their own drinking water.

This push from Rep. Stephens is indicative of a larger problem—figuring out how to pay to clean drinking water from the confirmed 21 sites throughout Pennsylvania contaminated with per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS).

The chemicals are used in products such as stain- and water-resistant clothing, nonstick pots and pans, firefighting foam, carpets, and furniture, and have been linked to various cancers, thyroid problems, low birth weights, and other problems. They’re increasingly showing up in water throughout the U.S.…