Claims – Contr Pollution Liab

May 30, 2019

Developer to pay $82,000 for mishandling toxic chemicals in Rumford

Source: https://www.providencejournal.com, May 29, 2019
By: Alex Kuffner

The developer of the Phillipsdale Landing complex in Rumford has agreed to an $82,000 settlement with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency over allegations of mishandling toxic chemicals.

Bourne Holdings, of Pawtucket, agreed to pay the fine to settle allegations of six counts of violating federal regulations for the safe handling and management of polychlorinated biphenyls, or PCBs.

The case stemmed from an April 2018 inspection in which the EPA documented the improper storage of PCBs and items that came into contact with PCBs. Inspectors with the agency also confirmed that a PCB transformer on the site had been dismantled and that some of the parts had been sold as scrap without being decontaminated.

PCBs are human-made organic chemicals that were manufactured in the United States from 1929 until they were banned in 1979. They were used in hydraulic and electrical equipment, paints, plastics, dyes and industrial devices. They have been tied to cancers in humans and there is evidence that they interfere with the immune and reproductive systems, according to the EPA.

“The violations at Phillipsdale Landing were significant given the quantity and concentration of PCBs involved,” the EPA said in a statement.…

May 21, 2019

Defects in west Denver homes highlight what can happen when development outpaces everything else

Source: https://denverite.com, May 20, 2019
By: Donna Bryson

The ensuing legal tangle calls into question how city building officials ensure that developers can meet the demand for housing — and do it safely.

After the city raised safety concerns so serious that new beams had to be installed to support a row of homes in Villa Park, the owners and their builder joined to sue the engineering company. The engineers in turn blamed the city and a company contracted to review building plans.

The legal tangle spelled out in Denver District Court papers is a matter of life or death for the small building firm and, at the very least, stress for the homeowners and the engineers. It also puts a spotlight on how Community Planning and Development is managing, amid Denver’s building frenzy, to ensure that developers can meet the demand for housing — and do it safely.

The pressure is strong to get permits issued so people can have houses and offices. In a 2017 report, the Denver auditor focused on the building permitting system, noting “Denver is growing quickly, and we want to ensure the process for planning projects is effectively meeting city objectives and efficient for customers.” The auditor’s recommendations on improving efficiency urged reviews to determine whether staffing and resources were sufficient. Safety was not a focus of the report, the most recent to look at permitting.…

May 21, 2019

Ongoing asbestos cleanup forces 2 New Orleans schools to spend another year at temporary spots

Source: https://www.theadvocate.com, May 19, 2019
By: Marta Jewson

Two New Orleans charter schools will spend a second year in temporary facilities as multimillion-dollar asbestos remediation jobs stretch into another school year. The schools — Lafayette Academy in Carrollton and Rosenwald Collegiate Academy in Algiers — had previously been expected to move into their permanent buildings this fall.

In a lawsuit filed Friday, the Orleans Parish School Board claims it has spent $5 million relocating schools and programs as a result of contractors’ mismanagement at Lafayette Academy’s South Carrollton Avenue building, which was closed last summer due to an asbestos release.

The Choice Foundation, which runs Lafayette charter school, is a co-plaintiff in the suit. The foundation says it has spent $1.3 million replacing possibly contaminated furniture and equipment at the campus.

Asbestos, a commonly used building material until the 1980s, is dangerous when its fibers becomes airborne. Many old schools may contain the fire-retardant material in floor tiles and adhesive, ceiling tiles and pipe insulation. It is generally safe unless renovations or other activities disturb the material.…

May 16, 2019

Frantic parents fear for kids after radioactive contamination found at Ohio middle school

Source: https://www.nbcnews.com, May 16, 2019
By: Safia Samee Ali

“It’s so scary that my child has been exposed to this because I have no idea how it’s going to affect him,” one mother said.

Ashley Day has always worried about the health risks of living a few miles from a defunct nuclear power plant in Piketon, Ohio. So, when her son Kendon came home Monday and told her school had been canceled for the rest of the year, she had a sinking feeling there was a connection.

A few hours later, her fears were confirmed: The Scioto Valley Local School District declared in a letter that Zahn’s Corner Middle School would be shut down for the remainder of the school year because of possible radioactive contamination from the nearby Portsmouth Gaseous Diffusion Plant, which the federal Department of Energy is in the process of decommissioning.

“I felt anxiety, anger, and paranoia all at once,” she said. “It’s so scary that my child has been exposed to this because I have no idea how it’s going to affect him.”

The district said enriched uranium and neptunium-237, highly carcinogenic radioactive chemicals, were detected not only inside the building but also at a Department of Energy air monitor adjacent to the school.…

April 18, 2019

Architects dropped from public housing lawsuit over mold

Source: https://www.seacoastonline.com, April 18, 2019
By: Elizabeth Dinanc

An architectural firm has been dropped from a lawsuit alleging faulty construction caused mold in apartments at the Wamesit Place public housing complex, while a related suit is ongoing at Superior Court, and the dispute is scheduled for mediation.

The lawsuit was filed by Portsmouth attorney John Bosen, on behalf of the Wamesit Place Family Housing Limited Partnership, and claims mold remediation at the apartments has required a “massive” amount of work and the temporary relocation of some residents. The Portsmouth Housing Authority manages the 100-unit Wamesit Place apartments on Greenleaf Avenue and its director Craig Welch previously told the Portsmouth Herald he can’t discuss ongoing litigation, but would say no residents’ health is at risk.

In a joint statement, filed with the U.S. District Court of New Hampshire, Bosen and attorney Clara Lyons for Portland Builders Inc. reported that allegations previously brought against Goduti-Thomas Architects were “entirely dismissed.”…

April 11, 2019

Lawsuit filed against firms in Fraser sewer collapse

Source: https://www.detroitnews.com, 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.…

April 2, 2019

Completion of high school project delayed another year

Source: AXA XL Environmental

To achieve the completion date on a school project, the GC accelerated its schedule, allowing the drywall contractor to start before the building envelope was completed. Rain damaged a majority of the installed drywall as well as the materials stored on site. This resulted in $2 million in repair costs and associated delay costs, borne by the GC.…

April 2, 2019

Local bank faces both asbestos and mold cleanup

Source: AXA XL Environmental

A GC renovating a bank hired an asbestos abatement contractor. As part of their final cleanup process on a Friday, the abatement contractor utilized a high-pressure wash, resulting in saturated carpets, ceilings and walls. Materials remained saturated over the weekend while the HVAC system remained turned off. The GC was greeted with extensive mold growth throughout the building on Monday morning, and ultimately a $600,000 bill to correct the damage. Although the GC ensured that the subcontractor retained pollution insurance, the subcontractor had a mold exclusion on their policy, leaving the entire cost on the shoulders of the GC.…

April 2, 2019

Renovations at school result in bodily injury claims

Source: AXA XL Environmental

A GC was renovating an elementary school. During the course of work, dust from concrete cutting set off the fire alarms. Parents of students filed a claim against the general contractor for bodily injury due to fear of contracting silicosis. Although the GC was not held liable for causing a pollution incident, defense costs exceeded $50,000.…

April 2, 2019

Contractor causes property damage to building

Source: AXA XL Environmental

A GC used muriatic acid while performing concrete etching in a commercial building. The highly corrosive fumes from the acid were not properly contained and were released into the building damaging the newly installed chrome fixtures. As a result, the GC was responsible for $75,000 in property damages.…