May 30, 2013

Commercial Office Space Impacted by Plume

Source: Great American Environmental Division, May 2013

While performing due diligence in the course of selling an apartment building, the owner of the apartment building learned that an underground plume of contaminants from a neighboring property had impacted their site, resulting in vapor intrusion into several of their buildings. Unfortunately, the source of the plume was an orphaned site so the owner of the apartment building was stuck paying the entire cost for the vapor mitigation system and faces the real possibility of future bodily injury claims from tenants.


May 30, 2013

Regulatory Re-Opener at Apartment Complex

Source: Great American Environmental Division, May 2013

An owner of an apartment complex constructed in 1998 discovered that the apartment was built on previously contaminated property. The historical use of the site included a gas station. Prior to construction of the apartment complex, the Underground Storage Tanks were removed and 22,000 tons of contaminated soil were excavated. A No Further Action letter was received from the State. In 2012, the owner received a letter from the State Department of the Environment (DOE) explaining that the case had been reopened. The re-opener required the owner to hire an environmental consultant to review the details of the past clean-up activities in light of new groundwater and soil vapor regulations. The review was submitted to the DOE who determined additional sampling of the groundwater and soil vapor would he required. DOE required two additional wells to he installed and sampled on a quarterly basis. Total costs to date exceed $93,000.…

December 17, 2012

AvalonBay pressed over environmental concerns Developer says company will address any problems at former hospital site

Source: Trenton Times, December 11, 2012
Posted on:

Opponents of the project to convert the former University Medical Center of Princeton hospital site into apartments focused on the potential for soil contamination in testimony and cross-examination last night.

James Peterson, called by the opposition as an environment expert, said he thought the initial studies of environmental conditions were flawed, and said a lot more work remains to be done to verify that there are no hidden problems.

He said there is still time to do a thorough investigation.

“The best time to do this would have been phase one, but it was an option not selected. … It really should be done now,” he said.

The project to convert the former hospital into a 280-unit apartment complex has drawn scrutiny from Princeton Citizens for Sustainable Neighborhoods, which has raised a number of questions about the project.

One resident said she was concerned environmental problems, if there were any, would only be discovered once the demolition has begun.

“If we don’t find out about contamination of the building before its torn down, isn’t that too late,” said the resident, Minnie Craig, who lives a block away from the site.

Residents have opposed the building’s design, the developer’s refusal to build to high environmental standards and the fact that they believe the complex represents a gated community.…

December 11, 2012

Hypothermia and Carbon Monoxide Poisoning Cases Soar in City After Hurricane

Source: New York Times Online, November 29, 2012
Posted on: http://specialfpn1.advisen.com

The number of cold-exposure cases in New York City tripled in the weeks after Hurricane Sandy struck compared with the same period in previous years, the health department reported in an alert to thousands of doctors and other health care providers on Wednesday.

And even though power and heat have been restored to most of the city, there are still thousands of people living in the cold, the department said.

The department warned health care providers that residents living in unheated homes faced “a significant risk of serious illness and death from multiple causes.”

The number of cases of carbon monoxide exposure, which can be fatal, was more than 10 times as high as expected the week of the storm and 6 times as high the next week, reflected in greater numbers of emergency department visits. Calls to the city’s poison center also increased, health officials said.

And as temperatures dip, health officials said the cold could lead to other health problems, including a worsening of heart and lung diseases and an increase in anxiety and depression.

“My bigger concern is what happens in the future as we get closer to winter in the next four weeks,” Dr. Thomas A. Farley, the city’s health commissioner, said in an interview. “There are probably about 12,000 people living in unheated apartments right now.”

Between Nov. 3 and 21, more than three times as many people visited emergency rooms for cold exposure as appeared during the same time periods from 2008 to 2011, the health department said. The storm hit on Oct. 29.…

April 4, 2012

Painting Contractor – Lead

Source: Rockhill Environmental/NECC Newsletter

A child who lived in an apartment building constructed in the 1970s was diagnosed with lead poisoning. The renovation of the building by a painting contractor allegedly caused unsafe conditions for the child. The parents of the child filed a bodily injury claim against the painting contractor. As part of the investigation of the claim, an expert was hired. Other potential causes for the lead poisoning were discovered. As a result, the painting contractor was held liable for only a portion of the claim.…

February 3, 2012

Woman cites Kensard Manor Apartments for mold infestation

Source: http://www.wndu.com, January 31, 2012
By: Kevin Lewis

A local woman says she’s battled pneumonia, extreme fatigue and weight loss because of toxic mold in her apartment.

The battle began in Feb. 2010 when Zola Blivin, 72, moved into the Kensard Manor Apartments, located along E. 12th Street in Mishawaka.

Blivin says she’s called management, the St. Joseph County Health Department and Mishawka Code Enforcement, all to no avail.

While they wouldn’t go on camera to defend themselves, Kensard Manor management gave NewsCenter 16 a document stating Blivin’s unit passed its annual inspection in both 2010 and 2011.

“I try not to get too upset, but it started with the sneezing, the eyes running itchy, a scratchy throat,” Blivin recalled.

At first, Blivin thought her symptoms may have been caused by excess dust in the carpet. That was until she found apparent mold, peppered behind her furnace filter.

“This is the compartment where they put the clean filter when it gets dirty and as you can see, there is a lot of mold here,” Blivin added.

Things are only worse on the third floor of the building where the 72-year-old says mold permeates a utility closet. There, NewsCenter 16 found a dark, fuzzy substance coated across a furnace blowing into an apartment with a young child inside.

“Management just ignores anything that goes on around here. That’s not good,” Blivin said.

In Sept. 2011, Blivin took a sample of the mysterious material to her physician. After the visit, he wrote a letter citing what he believed to be “mold spores.” In that same letter, he also suggested his patient vacate the unit immediately for her own health.

“I’m a very strong person, but I’ll tell you, you stay here long and it will get to you. I’ll never look back at Kensard Manor, never,” Blivin concluded.

Because of that doctor’s letter, Blivin was able to break her lease early and move from her unit Tuesday afternoon. When asked why she waited so long to share her story, she said partly out of fear, but more importantly, in hopes no one would make the same mistake she did by moving into her apartment.

Kensard Manor says there is no mold within its complex. To substantiate that claim, NewsCenter 16 offered to hire a mold analyst to conduct testing inside the building in question. Despite making multiple calls, Kensard Manor has yet to agree to that proposal.…

June 21, 2011

Mold discovered in Cleveland Hotel

Source: http://starbeacon.com, March 16, 2009
By: MarK Todd

A Monday morning inspection of the Cleveland Hotel found mold in portions of the building, said Sally Kennedy, city health commissioner.

The bank that holds the mortgage on the building will be contacted, but occupants are in no danger and use of the building won’t change, Kennedy said. “It’s not a problem,” she said.

Cady Hutchinson, city environmental health inspector, and fire inspector Steve Sanford examined the century-old building. Hutchinson’s report has not been filed, but she reportedly found evidence of mold in the basement and in some of the residential units, Kennedy said.

The hotel is now home to more than two dozen condominium units. Only one is occupied, according to reports.

The mold was found in an unoccupied unit, Kennedy said.

Mold was one complaint cited in a lawsuit filed late last year in Ashtabula County Common Pleas Court by Roger and Colleen Mericka, who are leasing one of the units. The Merickas have named several defendants in their complaint, which alleges — among other things — that building maintenance has been neglected.…

June 15, 2011

Mold Exposure Joins Leading Personal Injury Claims with $925,000 Award

Source: http://www.businesswire.com, June 2, 2005

Mold exposure has jumped to the forefront of significant personal injury claims with a recent $925,000 award in Wayne County Circuit Court to an apartment resident. The verdict, the highest ever in Michigan for personal injury damages resulting from mold exposure, could ultimately force a new standard of liability on property owners and landlords.

The apartment resident, Esmeralda Mahaffy, developed permanent, severe asthma from exposure to high levels of toxic mold after her apartment was negligently repaired following a flood from a toilet in the apartment above her unit in 2001. The incident occurred after years of ignored complaints of water leakage and persistent mold on the walls and ceilings. The verdict followed a seven-day jury trial in April before Wayne County Circuit Court Judge John H. Gillis Jr.…

May 26, 2011

WHA lawsuit against Sparks to continue as planned

Source: http://www.wect.com, May 24, 2011
By: Debra Worley

A lawsuit against a sitting city council member will continue as planned.

The Wilmington Housing Authority sued council member Ronald Sparks and his company for work Sparks’ engineering company did on an apartment complex in September 2005. His company was hired to conduct infrared tests at the Eastbrook Apartments on Princess Place Drive.

Sparks concluded the overall condition of the property was good, but there were a few maintenance issues that need to be fixed.

Based on his findings, the WHA purchased the apartment complex, but had to remove residents when another company performed tests showing the building had mold and mildew.

Sparks tried to get the lawsuit thrown out, but the court of appeals denied his request this week. Reports say the trial for this case is expected to begin sometime this summer.…

April 27, 2011

Tenants say mold problems persist at Winterport apartment complex

Source: Bangor Daily News, Bangor, ME, December 4, 2006
By: Walter Griffin

Residents of the Village Heritage apartments feel they are struggling for every breath.

For the most part elderly and on fixed incomes, the residents have been battling a mold problem in the building for years and have become increasingly worried that the problem is not going to be corrected.

“All we want to do is live naturally,” said Margaret Whittier, motioning to a thrumming air purifier on a nearby end table. “That’s the only thing we have to keep us from coughing. If they would just do something to keep us from coughing.”

According to Thomas A Maxfield Jr., director of management for Liberty Management of Portland, the owner of the complex, the mold problem appears to be one of design and location.…