Source: https://www.enr.com, August 30, 2018
By: Jeff Yoders
The roof of the sludge concentration building at Chicago’s Calumet Water Reclamation Plant collapsed after an explosion Aug. 30 around 11 a.m. Ten people were hurt and successfully evacuated to area hospitals for treatment by the Chicago Fire Dept. The plant is located in south suburban Riverside and is the oldest of the seven Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago wastewater treatment facilities. It opened in 1922 and provides wastewater treatment to approximately 1 million homes and businesses in southern Cook County.
According to a statement from the city/county agency, two people were trapped and were extricated from the building by Chicago Fire Department emergency crews and transported to local hospitals along with the other eight injured personnel. Firefighters to had to tunnel more than 40 ft through the rubble to extract one of the trapped, injured workers; that rescue took nearly two hours.…
Source: http://norcal.news, April 25, 2018
By: Bethany Klein
When most people think of environmental disasters in the San Francisco Bay Area, they almost certainly think of earthquakes, seeing that there are two major fault lines near San Francisco.
However, even though earthquakes can wreak immeasurable, unpredictable havoc, they are certainly not always to blame for sending people to hospitals.
Gas leaks are.
On Monday, April 23, 2018, a gas leak at a homeless shelter at roughly 11 a.m. Pacific Savings Time caused people to feel severely nauseous. Construction workers had been digging in an alleyway right before the leak started spreading gas vapor throughout the area with.…
Source: http://6abc.com, March 19, 2018
A contractor struck a six-inch gas main in Hamilton Township, Mercer County on Monday.
Calls starting coming in around 1 p.m. for a strong smell of gas in the area of the township known as Five Points.
The intersection was closed and traffic was being diverted through the neighborhoods.
Chopper 6 was over the scene as workers fixed the main.
No injuries have been reported.…
Source: https://www.lexology.com, January 24, 2018
By: Smith Currie & Hancock
In 2016, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (“OSHA”) published its final rule lowering the permissible silica exposure level (“PEL”) from 250 µg/m3 to 50 µg/m3. In response, OSHA received petitions from both a collection of industry petitioners (“Industry”) arguing that OSHA made the regulation too stringent and several union petitions (“Unions”) arguing that OSHA failed to make the regulation stringent enough to protect workers. On December 22, 2017, the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia rejected all of the industry’s challenges to the regulation. See N. Am.’s Bldg. Trades Unions v. Occupational Safety & Health Admin., No. 16-1105, 2017 WL 6543858 (D.C. Cir. Dec. 22, 2017). The court further held that OSHA failed to adequately explain its decision to omit medical removal protections from the regulation and remanded the issues for further consideration.
At the forefront of the court’s opinion, it outlines 29 U.S.C. §655(f), “the substantial evidence standard”, under which OSHA only needed to provide substantial evidence to uphold the requisite threshold finding of a significant risk of material health impairment that will be reduced by the new PEL (50 µg/m3). Under this standard, while OSHA must rely upon a “body of reputable scientific thought” when assessing risk, it is not required to “calculate the exact probability of harm” or support its findings with anything approaching scientific certainty.” [pg 8]. “OSHA is not precluded from relying on imperfect evidence so long as it ‘recognize[s] and account[s] for the methodological weaknesses’ of the evidence.” [pg 14]. The basis of the court’s holding is that the Industry failed to demonstrate how OSHA failed to meet its substantial evidentiary burden.…
Source: https://stateimpact.npr.org, July 19, 2017
By: Susan Phillips
Construction of Sunoco Pipeline’s $3 billion 350-mile long Mariner East 2 pipeline resulted in at least 61 drilling mud spills from April 25 through June 17, 2017, according to newly released documents. The spills have occurred in ten of the 12 counties along the route and range from minor releases of five gallons to larger more serious releases of tens of thousands of gallons. The documents, pasted below, include reports of “inadvertent returns,” and were released by the Department of Environmental Protection as part of ongoing litigation by the Clean Air Council challenging the department’s issuing of water crossing permits for the project last February.
The Council wants the Environmental Hearing Board to suspend construction while its case is pending review, but has so far been unsuccessful.
The spills primarily contain bentonite, a muddy clay substance used as a lubricant in drilling beneath waterways during horizontal directional drilling. Bentonite is non-toxic but can do damage to drinking water wells by clogging up an aquifer. A recent incident in Chester County forced 15 families to switch to bottled water and the company has since agreed to pay to hook residents up to the public water supply after some resident’s water wells went dry, and others experienced cloudy water.…
Source: http://philadelphia.cbslocal.com, July 18, 2017
By: Ian Bush
A week after Sunoco agreed to address concerns that its pipeline construction was tainting well water in one Chester County community, two new problems have cropped up — this time, in part of Media, Delaware County.
Its plastic barrier and hay bales, are no match for the deluge along Martins Lane and Glen Riddle Road in Middletown Township.
A spokesman for Sunoco’s Mariner East 2 pipeline calls it a “considerable amount of groundwater” pouring from the drill pad.
He notes no reports of problems with public or private water sources.
It’s the same spot that saw what the company calls “an inadvertent return of drilling mud” — a mixture of water and bentonite clay used to lubricate the underground horizontal boring equipment.
About 1,500 gallons spilled into Chester Creek. Crews worked to pump out that mud.
The state Department of Environmental Protection says there’s no health risk, no reported fish kills from the non-toxic mixture, and no expected long-term impact to the creek.…
Source: http://philadelphia.cbslocal.com, January 3, 2018
By: Jim Melwert
The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection has ordered all construction work to be halted on the $2.5 billion natural gas pipeline that runs from western Pennsylvania to Delaware County’s Marcus Hook.
A 24-page report from DEP cites numerous permit violations by Sunoco on the Mariner East 2 pipeline and suspends all construction permits until the company meets the requirements outlined in the order.
DEP Secretary Patrick McDonnell says in a press release, “Until Sunoco can demonstrate that the permit conditions can and will be followed, DEP has no alternative but to suspend the permits.”…
Source: http://boston.cbslocal.com, September 18, 2017
By: Ken MacLeod
There are health concerns in a Wilmington neighborhood after a construction crew started tearing down a house filled with asbestos, without following the proper safety procedures.
The issue was so bad; the Department of Environmental Protection was summoned to oversee things. When neighbors complained, it did bring about change.
Dave Norton worries about his granddaughter and his neighbors after the demolition triggered a cloud of asbestos dust.…
Source: http://www.duluthnewstribune.com, June 25, 2017
By: Brooks Johnson
A homeowners association is suing the developer, builder and manager of the Superior Vista condominiums, among others, claiming the Mesaba Avenue complex was not properly built and ought to be repaired under warranty.
“Many areas of the building were not built to applicable building code, industry standard and/or engineering specifications … all of which is allowing for excessive water intrusion, deterioration and decay,” reads the suit by the Superior Vista Homeowners Association filed in St. Louis County District Court last fall.
It’s exactly the kind of suit that some say has discouraged new condo development in recent years, and one that could become less common due to a change in state law that passed the Legislature earlier this year.
“The number of townhomes and condos being built have dramatically dropped, in part because of this legal landscape,” said David Siegel, executive director of the Builders Association of the Twin Cities. “If the liability is so great, and the costs are so great, we’re just going to stay away.”
Legislation pushed by Siegel’s group aims to slow down the liability lawsuits by requiring homeowner association membership to vote on such suits; require a maintenance record kept by the association; and mandate mediation before a suit is launched.
“We needed to put guardrails in,” Siegel said. “We don’t want to take away the ability to remedy the problems, but there are less expensive solutions that can solve the problems.”