June 14, 2019

Air Force diverted $66M to cover growing chemical cleanup costs

Source:, June 13, 2019
By: Rebecca Beitsch

A new analysis from the Department of Defense shows the Air Force diverted more than $66 million to cover the cleanup costs of harmful “forever chemicals” that have leached into the water supply.

Those funds were originally intended to cover a number of other projects, including asbestos abatement, radiological cleanup, removing contaminated soil, repairing the protective covering for a landfill and several projects to monitor water for contaminants and pesticides.

The class of chemicals, commonly referred to as PFAS, has been widely used by the military in firefighting foam. Often called “forever chemicals” due to their persistence in the environment, the military has now identified more than 400 sites contaminated with PFAS. Cleaning it up is expected to cost the military $2 billion.…

June 14, 2019

TVA agrees to remove 12 million tons of coal ash from Gallatin plant, clean contamination

Source:, June 13, 2019
By: Jamie Satterfield

The Tennessee Valley Authority has agreed to dig up 12 million tons of coal ash stored in unlined pits at its Gallatin Fossil Plant in Middle Tennessee and clean up contamination from it, officials announced Thursday.

The Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation and Tennessee Attorney General Herbert Slatery II said in a joint news release Thursday that the state reached a lawsuit settlement with TVA over coal ash contamination at the Gallatin plant and nearby waterways.

“We are pleased to bring this matter to a positive conclusion,” TDEC Commissioner David Salyers said. “This settlement will resolve environmental issues at the Gallatin Fossil Plant and we look forward to continuing our work with TVA and non-governmental organizations to further protect our environment and our citizens.”…

June 14, 2019

Report finds sweeping blame for fatal Oklahoma rig explosion

Source: Houston Chronicle, June 13, 2019
Posted on:

A federal review of an oil rig explosion that killed five workers in Oklahoma last year assigned blame not only to the Houston company that owned and operated the rig, but also to the entire energy sector and government for a woeful lack of regulation and supervision of onshore oil and gas drilling.

The report, released Wednesday by the U.S. Chemical Safety Board, amounted to an indictment of the oil and gas industry and the shale boom that rapidly turned the United States into the world’s largest oil and gas producer, but has come with little oversight and the cost of human life. The explosion, near Quinton, Okla. was the deadliest U.S. oilfield accident since the 2010 Deepwater Horizon tragedy killed 11 workers on a Gulf of Mexico offshore platform.…

June 14, 2019

U.S. Supreme Court to Review “Immensely Important” Environmental Case

Source:, June 12, 2019
By: William K. Enger, Wilson Elser

The U.S. Supreme Court agreed on June 10, 2019, to review a case involving “immensely important” questions regarding clean-up activities required by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA). In Atlantic Richfield Co. v. Christian Atlantic Richfield (ARCO) is seeking to overturn a decision by the Montana Supreme Court allowing property owners to seek in Montana state court restoration damages that went beyond a clean-up plan determined and mandated by the EPA. The EPA clean-up plan concerned the massive and historic Anaconda Smelter copper mining contamination that impacted more than 300 square miles, including residential communities. The EPA clean-up plan was ultimately agreed to by Anaconda’s successor, ARCO, after a lengthy and exhaustive remediation investigation and a Record of Decision consisting of more than 1,300 pages.…

June 13, 2019

Mitigation of Environmental Risks Caused by Extreme Weather

Source:, June 13, 2019
By: Jillian C. Kirn

According to the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency, flooding is the most frequent and damaging natural disaster impacting the commonwealth. Many of Pennsylvania’s communities are located adjacent to waterbodies.

June 13, 2019

Bill would make developers responsible for cleanup costs at contaminated properties

Source:, June 12, 2019
By: Jo C. Goode

A year ago the state Department of Environmental Protection issued a cease and desist order that stopped the demolition of the Healy School. Neighbors have been dealing with piles of contaminated debris currently being removed by government environmental agencies and on the taxpayers’ dime.

Now, Rep. Alan Silvia wants to hold developers responsible for the cost of cleanups. He has filed a bill that would require developers to take out performance bonds to cover the costs of environmental cleanups before the demolition of properties.

“This would alleviate the substandard demolition and construction,” said Silvia. “These situations are not good for the communities and it certainly doesn’t help the tax base.”

Spindle City Homes, which owns the Healy property on Hicks Street, and Miranda Construction Co., the company hired to perform the demolition, stopped work after the DEP order in June 2018. The order required asbestos-covered debris to be removed from the site and for dust and particles to be wet down by a licensed hazardous materials abatement company.…

June 13, 2019

Lawsuit filed against developer after deadly trench collapse

Read here about a lawsuit filed against developer after deadly trench collapse.…

June 13, 2019

Selecting Professional Liability Coverage

Source:, June 4, 2019
By: Raymond F.H. Bustamante, Berkley Construction Professional

Obtaining competitive terms in a complex marketplace

The Construction Specifier
June 2019

Driven by a strong economy, the easing of lending standards, and a healthy commercial real estate marketplace, construction starts are expected to total about $800 billion in the United States, according to the Dodge Data & Analytics’ 2019 Construction Outlook.’ Although this fails to capture the double-digit growth of recent years, the report confirms the likely match of funds spent on commercial construction last year.

While the industry’s outlook bodes well for the near future, concerns have heightened due to an increase in the liability claims plaguing construction projects since the market’s resurgence during the last eight years. In many cases, these exposures have paralleled the work of builders who have taken on new assignments without the prerequisite experience and/or failed to deliver on the sustainability demands of owners.…

June 12, 2019

State working to contain Farmington River pollution from firefighting foam spill

Source:, June 12, 2019
By: Gregory B. Hladky

State environmental officials are continuing efforts to contain potentially hazardous chemical pollution in the Farmington River resulting from the accidental spill of fire-fighting foam at a Bradley International Airport hangar.

Close to 50,000 of gallons of water and foam containing PFAS, known as “forever chemicals,” were released during the incident at the Signature Flight private aircraft hangar Saturday, according to state estimates.

An unknown amount of that contaminated water and foam made its way through the sewer system to the Metropolitan District’s Windsor treatment plant and from there into the Farmington River near Poquonnock Avenue, officials said.

Health and environmental authorities have issued a warning not to consume fish caught from the river or to touch areas of foam that may be in the water or along the banks. “There is no observed mortality to aquatic life in the river,” according to an initial Department of Energy and Environmental Protection report.

June 12, 2019

How citizen sleuths cracked the Wolverine tannery pollution case

Source:, June 12, 2019
By: Garret Ellison

Lynn McIntosh wasn’t surprised to see the police officer watching her.

McIntosh was taking samples at the city dam because she worried about contamination where people fished, launched canoes and jumped into a frigid Rogue River every Valentine’s Day for the Sweetheart Splash.

As she snapped photos and filled small bottles with sediment, Rockford officer Jason Bradley watched from his patrol car. A city employee had called police, who, according to the April 3, 2013 report, dispatched him to “observe Lynn’s actions, just for documentation.”

“I’m thinking, ‘I wonder if a police car will show up,’” recalled the Rockford piano teacher and amateur environmental sleuth. “Sure enough, I look around and there’s a car. Wouldn’t you know.”

It wasn’t the first time someone called police or tried to hamper her group’s efforts to document pollution and it wouldn’t be the last.…