Claims – Pollution Legal Liability

January 15, 2019

Polish motorway is covered in chocolate as tanker truck overturns

Source:, May 10, 2018
By: Mythili Sampathkumar

One local official says it has been a long time since police were smiling at the scene of an accident

A truck full of liquid chocolate has overturned on a motorway in Poland, spilling 12 tonnes of the sweet stuff all over the road.

Traffic was blocked in both directions of the A2 motorway between the towns of Wrzesnia and Slupca in Western Poland, according to the Associated Press. The road also connects the major cities of Poznan and Warsaw. No one was gravely injured as a result of the accident, but the driver of the lorry was taken to hospital with a broken arm.

It is not clear as yet what caused the tanker truck to overturn and fall onto its side across the median, or where it was ultimately headed. By the time cleanup crews had arrived the liquid had begun to solidify, making the operation more difficult, local police said.

Bogdan Kowalski of Slupca’s fire brigade said that “the cooling chocolate is worse than snow”. He also noted that in the initial moments after the accident there were some who drove their vehicles through the sticky liquid, spreading it for several kilometres along the road.

Marlena Kukawka, a media officer for the police in the small town of Slupca, told the New York Times it would take “hours” to clean the mess and fire brigades were using streams of hot water to remelt the chocolate in order to wash it away.

As the Washington Post reported about the local news station TVN24: “One of its reporters at the scene was walking along the edge of the shoulder to avoid the chocolate only to slip and fall into a ditch, where there was, indeed, more chocolate”.

On a positive note, Ms Kukawka said “it’s been a long time since I’ve seen so many smiles on the faces of emergency rescue folks and police officers at the scene of an accident”.

January 15, 2019

River of chocolate blocks traffic on Arizona highway after tanker carrying 40,000 pounds overturns: Authorities

Source:, January 14, 2019
By: Julia Jacobo

Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory isn’t the only place to house a river of chocolate.

A section of Interstate 40 near Flagstaff, Arizona, was covered in the cocoa confection after a tanker trailer carrying more than 40,000 pounds of the liquid overturned Monday morning around 9 a.m., Arizona Department of Public Safety Public Information Officer Bart Graves told ABC News.

The truck originated in Ontario, Canada, and was headed to Henderson, Nevada, Graves said. Authorities believe the tanker overturned after the latch between truck and the trailer became unsecured and the trailer became separated from the truck, Graves said.

Thousands of gallons of chocolate then spilled into the roadway and cleanup crews had to empty out the remaining contents from the trailer so they could lift it upright and tow it with a heavy-duty tow truck, Graves said.

Officials also shut down westbound lanes on Interstate 40 for about four hours, but the accident happened just beyond an off-ramp, so authorities were able to re-route traffic from there, Graves said.

No one was injured in the accident, but a truck-load of chocolate was wasted.

“This will be a sweet cleanup!” the Arizona DPS wrote on Twitter.

January 11, 2019

New lawsuit filed against Sands Resort over Legionella outbreak

Source:, January 10, 2019
by: Max Sullivan

Stephen Uliano had no idea where he contracted pneumonia this summer until he read a news story two months later about a Legionnaire’s disease outbreak at Hampton Beach.

Now Uliano, who came to Hampton Beach with his girlfriend from New York this July, has filed the seventh lawsuit brought against the Sands Resort for negligence in exposing him to Legionella, alleging it caused his seven-day hospitalization at Portsmouth Regional Hospital. The suit was filed Wednesday in Rockingham Superior Court against the Sands ownership, as well as Aqua Paradise Pools & Spas, which installed and maintained its hot tub.

State and federal officials say 19 people came down with Legionnaire’s disease while visiting the beach between June 10 and Aug. 26, one person dying afterwards, and they said last year the Sands was considered a likely source of the bacteria that causes the rare form of pneumonia.…

January 11, 2019

Long-term use of airport tank farm leads to soil and groundwater contamination


A small airport serving as a regional transportation/shipping hub was owned by a local municipality and operated by a single FBO. They used a tank farm from the 1940s through 2013, which led to discovery of significant soil and groundwater contamination during replacement of aboveground fuel tanks and underground piping. The release was reported to the state regulatory agency and soil remediation was deemed necessary prior to installation of new fuel tanks. The extent of groundwater contamination was unknown.

AXA XL’s claims team retained a consultant to respond to the regulatory agency and prepare a remediation work plan, which allowed the new tank erection to proceed without further delay. Soil excavation and confirmation sampling was completed around old tank and piping areas. The regulatory agency also
required additional groundwater monitoring wells to assess the extent of contamination. Because the airport was in a more remote region, this resulted in higher remediation costs due to increased professional time and materials fees. The extent of VOC groundwater contamination was defined and found to be
localized. Cost of the remediation was capped to just slightly under $1 million, but just as importantly, responsive claim handling allowed the airport to continue operations and avoid any business interruption expenses.…

January 11, 2019

Storage and repair of older, radium-containing aircraft instruments


Based on recent US EPA guidance, an airport determined that one of its FBO tenants, an avionics repair firm, had a large amount of potentially radioactive aircraft instruments stored in their warehouse for many years. The luminescent paint used in these aircraft instruments (new and used) contained radium, which
continued to emit measurable radiation and pose potential health hazards. These instruments were mixed together with thousands of other aircraft parts in the warehouse. The state regulatory agency inspected the site, and a primary concern cited was the potential for a catastrophic fire to result in ingestion/inhalation of radium smoke/soot and generation of contaminated fire-fighting water.

The tenant could not afford to sort and dispose of the radium-contaminated instruments and filed for bankruptcy. The state regulatory agency notified the airport of impending enforcement action and the airport decided it was necessary to dispose of the instruments as low level radioactive waste. An AXA XL technical
consultant worked with the airport to determine the level of risk and appropriate disposal requirements. A third-party consultant was hired to assist with proper hazard identification and disposal of the radium instruments. All costs and expenses associated with the consulting services and instrument disposal fell within the airport’s self-insured policy retention of $500,000.…

January 11, 2019

Use of de-icing fluids impacts wetland


An airport in the northern United States routinely used propylene glycol for de-icing activities, which were performed by several FBOs at multiple locations. Long term use of the de-icing agent resulted in offsite discharges including impacts to an adjacent wetland. Further, the local regulatory authority reduced the stormwater discharge limits for parameters such as the biological oxygen demand (BOD), which resulted in routine exceedances. The airport considered a centralized de-icing area, but due to the physical constraints of the airport, this was deemed impractical and expensive. Faced with significant fines and a potential consent order, the airport was forced to take action so flight operations were not impacted.

AXA XL’s environmental claims counsel and a technical consultant worked with the FBOs and airport to prepare a plan for smaller de-icing areas with an improved collection system. Discharges were routed to a central engineered wetland to provide passive treatment of the propylene glycol and meet storm water permit requirements. Construction of the engineered wetland and storm water conveyance systems cost under $2 million and saved the airport from over $13 million in non-compliance costs and fines. This was accomplished with limited disruption to airport operations and no impact to flight schedules. The FBOs incurred some legal defense expense and a portion of the construction expense.…

January 11, 2019

Airport fuel hydrant leaks


An airport and their FBO used a hydrant system (underground fuel delivery pipeline) for many years. During maintenance of the system, it was discovered that a valve leaked in the fuel hydrant system. Over a long-period of time, jet fuel leaked from this valve at a rate that went undetected by the leak detection system. Over time, significant contamination of the aquifer underlying the airport occurred, resulting in a remediation order from the local/county environmental authority.

Although, the airport had initially installed and operated the hydrant system, the current FBO’s contract made it responsible for preventing and responding to spills/releases and overall environmental compliance. AXA XL’s claims counsel and consultants worked with the FBO and airport to reach a settlement and develop a remediation work plan. A risk assessment was performed to ensure that there was no harm to airport users or employees from volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in groundwater. A long-term remediation project involving monitored natural attenuation for 20 years was implemented. Costs are
expected to exceed $400,000, but are still significantly less expensive than an active groundwater treatment system.…

January 9, 2019

Millbrook students ‘home’ after months-long mold cleanup, repairs

Source:, January 9, 2018
By: Nina Schutzman

A Millbrook district elementary school is open again, nearly four months after shutting down for mold remediation and renovations.

And for Elm Drive Elementary’s 160-plus students, the re-opening of their building brought a fresh start and a homecoming.

Elm Drive had been closed since September. While remediation and repairs were ongoing, Elm Drive’s K-2 students were relocated to Millbrook Middle School.

Now the kids are “back where they belong,” said Millbrook Central School District Superintendent Philip D’Angelo.

And the school they returned to is in better shape than the one they left behind, officials say.

“It’s been a difficult start of the school year,” D’Angelo told the Poughkeepsie Journal. “You try to find an opportunity out of a tough situation. This building is 59-years-old, but (now) it’s almost like new.”

The district’s insurance company, New York Schools Insurance Reciprocal, is projected to pay more than $2 million for work completed inside of the school, said Brian Fried, Millbrook’s assistant superintendent for business, finance and operations.…

January 8, 2019

Mold concerns raised at Harleysville apartment building

Source:, January 7, 2019
By: Bob Keeler

Christine Lindenmuth says it started in May with a musty smell coming from her bedroom air conditioner at Valley Manor, a Section 8 subsidized housing apartment building for low-income elderly and disabled persons on Broad Street in Harleysville.

After she complained about it, maintenance workers came and sprayed something to cover the smell, she said.

“They acted like that was going to do the job,” Lindenmuth, 71, said. “Well, it didn’t.”

When she complained again, a contractor came to look at the heat pump, but the problem still wasn’t fixed, she said.

“These heat pumps do not exhaust the condensation to the outside. It’s going into the inner wall and that’s causing the mold,” Lindenmuth said.

“I had to live all this summer without using the air conditioner. I had to sit beside the window with a table fan on because if I had the air conditioner on and it was blowing in, I got sick,” she said. “I got sick anyway, but I got less sick when I didn’t use it.”…

December 20, 2018

Hotel faces 2 new suits in outbreak of Legionnaires

Source:, December 20, 2018
By: Max Sullivan

Two more people filed lawsuits against the Sands Resort, alleging the Hampton Beach hotel was the source of their catching Legionnaires’ disease this summer, claiming they breathed in bacteria released from the hotel’s vents.

Randy Clark, of Brookline, Vermont, and Kurt Green, of North Andover, Massachusetts, both filed civil suits in Rockingham County Superior Court Tuesday against the Sands ownership, as well as Aqua Paradise Pools & Spas, which installed and maintained its hot tub. The Sands is now facing six total suits alleging negligence for allowing Legionella bacteria to exist in its water and infect guests or those nearby.

The Ashworth Avenue hotel is believed by state and federal officials to be a likely source of a cluster of Legionnaires’ disease cases. Nineteen people were identified as having come down with the rare form of pneumonia while visiting Hampton Beach this summer. One person from out of state died after contracting the disease, according to health officials.

The new suits state Green and Clark did not stay at the Sands when they were exposed to the bacteria. Green, his suit states, rode past the hotel on his motorcycle multiple times during his stay at the beach June 13-14 and walked by on the sidewalk. Clark stayed at the beach from July 23-25 and drove by and walked in close proximity to the Sands.

Both suits state Green and Clark inhaled aerosolized Legionella bacteria carried by steam or vapors from vents at the Sands. They both claim the plaintiffs had symptoms like fatigue, chills, aches and fever, and Clark was admitted to the emergency room.

The suits claim the sickness was “solely as a result of the defendant’s negligence, carelessness and recklessness.” The suits do not name a specific amount sought, only asking for an award “within the jurisdictional limits” of the court.

Sands owner Tom Saab has declined to comment on the suits and did not return a call seeking comment on Tuesday’s filings. He has said his hotel has cleaned its water supply of the bacteria since the cluster was identified. The state has also allowed the hotel to remove signs from its doors warning guests the bacteria was detected at the Sands, according to the Department of Health and Human Services. Saab has also said the Sands hot tub, which produces airborne water particles that allow people to catch the disease, has been shut down.

Clark’s suit states he stayed at the Harris Sea Ranch, which was also considered a potential source of Legionella bacteria but whose water tested negative for the bacteria. Clark’s attorney Emile Bussiere said no suit was filed against the Harris Sea Ranch because there was no evidence that hotel had Legionella in its water supply.…