Claims – Pollution Legal Liability

September 5, 2018

Methane Explosion Injures 10, Collapses Roof at Chicago Area Water Reclamation Plant

Source:, August 30, 2018
By: Jeff Yoders

UPDATE: Worker’s torch set off methane explosion

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.…

July 30, 2018

S.F. Shipyard homeowners sue developer

Source: San Francisco Chronicle, July 25, 2018
Posted on:

The developer of the former Hunters Point Naval Shipyard, already beleaguered by a cleanup scandal and slumping condominium sales, now has another problem to worry about: lawsuits by homeowners.

On Tuesday, attorneys for two families who bought homes in the Bayview district development in 2015 and 2016 filed lawsuits against both the developer and the environmental engineering firm accused of botching the cleanup of the Superfund site, which was home to the Naval Radiological Defense Laboratory from 1946 to 1969.

In the lawsuits, the homeowners, Theo Ellington and his wife Victoria Trusty, and Linda Parker Pennington and husband Greg Pennington, claim that developer FivePoint and property owner Lennar failed to disclose to prospective residents the extent of contamination of the property. They also claim the developer didn’t inform home buyers about allegations that Tetra Tech, the environmental engineering company that was paid more than $250 million for the cleanup, had faked soil samples in order to pass off parts of the shipyard as being less contaminated than they were.

The lawsuits state that the “defendants are all responsible for the loss of value in plaintiffs’ homes due to the continuing toxic nature of the Superfund and former nuclear testing site upon and near plaintiffs’ homes, and the ensuing health and other issues that waste has caused, is causing, and will continue to cause until it is remediated.”…

July 27, 2018

Toxins found in Upper Dublin drinking water; EPA holds forum to address concerns

Source:, July 26, 2018
By: Vernon Odum

The tap water in Upper Dublin Township is widely believed by local residents to be dangerously contaminated by firefighting agents from military bases in this area of Montgomery County.

The acronym for the contaminating chemical in question is PFAS, which stands for Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances.

According to the EPA’s website, the chemicals in PFAS are “very persistent in the environment and in the human body,” meaning they accumulate and stay in the body for a long period of time.

“This a Frankenstein’s monster kind of chemical,” said Upper Dublin Resident Mark Cuker. “It doesn’t break down when you drink it. It stays in your body and causes adverse health effects.”…

July 19, 2018

Towers Residence Suites to remain closed as WSU clears Legionella from campus

Source:, July 16, 2018

Wayne State University officials say they are working to eliminate the Legionella bacteria that has been found in a number of buildings on campus.

However, they say that while much of the contamination has been remediated, work still needs to be done on several facilities, including the Towers Residence Suites and the Student Center.

Officials say it will take several more weeks before they rooftop cooling towers on the Towers Residence Suites can be replaced, and the building will remain unoccupied during that time.

The Student Center will remain open. However, the air conditioning will remain off during the repairs, which are expected to take several days.…

July 19, 2018

‘Toxic mold’ forces military families out of Keesler housing, lawsuit says

Source:, July 17, 2018
By: Anita Lee

Eleven military families are suing the companies that own and manage Keesler Air Force Base housing over “toxic mold” that continued to grow in their homes after the companies responded to complaints with inadequate remedies, including cleanup with soap and water, the lawsuits say.

Five of the families reported still living in the homes in West Falcon, Thrower Park and Bayridge subdivisions in Biloxi when the Rushing & Guice law firm filed the lawsuits in December 2017. Six other families say the mold drove them from their homes in West Falcon and Bayridge.

The three subdivisions were part of the largest housing construction project in Air Force history, with $287 million spent on more than 1,000 homes built after Hurricane Katrina. An article in the Sun Herald said keys were handed over in March 2010 to the last of the homes built by El Paso-based Hunt Building Construction.

Complaints about mold started as early as 2015, the lawsuits indicate…

July 16, 2018

Legionnaire’s Cases Reported in Washington Heights

Source:, July 16, 2018
By: David Chiu

Cooling Towers Have Been Linked to the Disease

The New York City Department of Health announced last week that it is investigating several cases of Legionnaire’s disease in the lower Washington Heights section of Manhattan. As of July 15, there were 16 people diagnosed with the condition in recent days, CBS2 News reported. The age range of those affected ranged from 40 to 80 years old.

“The Health Department has identified a cluster of Legionnaires disease in the Lower Washington Heights area,” Health Commissioner Dr. Mary T. Bassett said in a press statement. “While most people exposed to Legionella don’t get sick, individuals ages 50 and above, especially those who smoke and have chronic lung conditions, are at a higher risk. This disease is very treatable with antibiotics. I encourage anyone with symptoms of Legionnaires’ disease to seek care early.”

Legionnaire’s is a form of pneumonia, said the department, caused by the bacteria that grow in warm water. People become ill after breathing in water vapor that has the bacteria. It is not contagious and does not transmit from person to person.

July 12, 2018

Toxic soil claims stall San Francisco shipyard development

Dive Brief:

  • Kofi Bonner, co-chief operating officer of Five Point Holdings, developer of the Hunters Point Shipyard/Candlestick Point project on and around the site of a former U.S. Navy shipyard in San Francisco, told the San Francisco Chronicle that the project will be delayed for years due to uncertainty around potentially radioactive soil that is scaring off investors and potential homebuyers.
  • Developers still aim to build more than 12,000 homes, 300 acres of parks, offices, schools and retail developments on the site, but many of those plans were stymied after claims that soil tests and cleanup records completed for the property were falsified. Two former employees of Tetra Tech, which was hired to perform the environmental work under a $250 million contract, pleaded guilty to fabricating soil-related documentation and were sentenced to prison. The Navy, which still has possession of the Hunters Point property, with the exception of one section, Parcel A — which was supposedly never exposed to the Navy’s radiological operations at the shipyard — will not release the land to the city or developers until the soil gets the all-clear through retesting. Officials said they will start testing Parcel A as well.
  • Lennar has built approximately 450 homes on Parcel A, where residential construction continues. Bonner said the company will focus on the Candlestick Point portion of the development, where site and utility work is currently underway without the shadow of potentially toxic soil. Approximately 7,200 residential units, 300,000 square feet of commercial development and a 200-room hotel have been approved for the site, according to Bisnow, but the company in April scuttled plans for a 635,000-square-foot shopping mall, citing a downturn in the brick-and-mortar retail market.
July 10, 2018

Carson grilled about lead paint and mold in public housing

Source:, June 28, 2018

Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson was peppered with questions by lawmakers over the department’s handling of lead paint and mold in public housing, leading to a heated exchange over how to pay for fixing the issue.

At a House Financial Services Committee oversight hearing Wednesday, Rep. Nydia M. Velazquez, D-N.Y., quizzed Carson on the Trump administration’s fiscal 2019 funding request, which called for zeroing out the department’s public housing capital fund, a source used for repairs to public housing.

She raised the case of the New York City Housing Authority, which on June 11 entered into a $1.2 billion consent decree with the Justice Department over numerous living conditions issues, including for failing to meet federal lead safety requirements and to properly conduct inspections of housing facilities.

The agreement requires the appointment of a federal monitor for five years to oversee remediation and capital repairs, which Velazquez said didn’t square with the administration’s funding request.

“How were you expecting NYCHA to meet these terms and these upgrades when you requested zero dollars for the Public Housing Capital Fund for FY 2019?” Velazquez asked. “It is great that you are exercising proper oversight, but money talks.”…

June 18, 2018

Legionella found during water tests at VA hospital in Loma Linda

Source: Orange County Register (CA), June 14, 2018
Posted on:

Legionella bacteria was discovered Wednesday, June 13 at the Jerry L. Pettis Memorial VA Medical Center in Loma Linda, a facility at the center of a federal whistleblower complaint from a group of worried physicians and nurses.

Hospital officials learned of the Legionella through quarterly water safety testing, according to Wade J. Habshey, spokesman for the Pettis Medical Center.

“This does not mean there is a Legionella outbreak,” he said in a statement. “The facility has a zero-tolerance policy for Legionella.”

Mitigation efforts are underway and out-of-service signs have been placed in front of affected rooms and drinking fountains as a safety precaution.

“Service chiefs are notifying staff members as appropriate” regarding the remediation, Habshey said.

Information was not immediately available regarding how long it will take to remove the Legionella or whether patients have been transferred to other rooms during mitigation efforts.…

June 14, 2018

Legionnaires’ disease case suspected at UW Medical Center

Source:, May 23, 2018

A case of suspected Legionnaires’ disease has been found at the University of Washington Medical Center — the third time in as many years that the disease has been suspected at the facility.

UW Medicine and Seattle Cancer Care Alliance report a suspected case of Legionella pneumonia involving a patient in a SCCA Hospital at the UW Medical Center.

Officials said the patient “has been diagnosed with a highly probable healthcare associated Legionella pneumonia.”

The patient is in satisfactory condition and is responding well to treatment, officials said.

“We believe this is an isolated case, and Legionella bacteria are rarely, if ever, transmitted from person to person,” UW Medicine and Seattle Cancer Care Alliance said.…