Source: http://www.eagletribune.com, December 20, 2013
By: Dustin Luca
The town has officially settled a District Court lawsuit with Bancroft Road resident James Berberian, bringing an end to a toxic sludge case dating back to 2010.
Berberian stands to be paid $500,000 in the settlement, finalized by a unanimous vote from the Board of Selectmen at an open meeting last night, according to Town Counsel Tom Urbelis.
Of the money in the settlement, $450,000 will be paid by the town while $50,000 will be paid by engineering firm Pennoni Associates, according to Urbelis.
Pennoni Associates’ involvement in the matter came after the company had done work on Berberian’s 2-4 Bancroft Road property.
The settlement approved yesterday follows a similar agreement, which included a $440,000 payment from the town and a contingency for a separate agreement from Pennoni, which fell apart in October.
Other changes to the agreement from the previous one amount to rephrasing of some wording, Urbelis said.
The agreement was not available after the meeting last night. Berberian’s attorney, Joseph Wadland, couldn’t be reached for comment.
The lawsuit case began in November 2010, when water department employees were cleaning out the 6 million-gallon water storage tank at the Bancroft School as part of routine maintenance on the water system.
However, town workers were videotaped by Berberian dumping dark-colored water into leaking trucks and into a nearby storm drain. That drain flowed down Bancroft Road and onto Berberian’s property at the corner of South Main Street.
The brownish water contained dark sediment which ended up settling in a wetland on Berberian’s property. When that sediment was tested, it showed high levels of toxic metals, including arsenic, cadmium and nickel, among others.
The town attempted to clean up Berberian’s property, but he claimed that some sediment remains. In February 2012, he then sued the town in federal court over what he said was a violation of the federal Clean Water Act for discharging contaminated water into a wetland.
Following months of closed-door meetings, the Board of Selectmen voted in August to accept the earlier settlement agreement.
By the end of the month, with a counter-proposal filed by Berberian, it appeared the agreement was in jeopardy “through no fault of either party,” Wadland said at the time.
The full agreement will be available in the coming days, according to Urbelis.
Source: http://www.virtual-strategy.com, December 19, 2013
Beazley’s environmental liability team is expanding with the recruitment of two senior underwriters, Dana Hughes and Gregory Dunn. Ms Hughes and Mr Dunn will both be based in Beazley’s Philadelphia office.
Ms Hughes joined Beazley in August 2005 and currently underwrites for the company’s Architects & Engineers (A &E) team. In her new role she will be expanding her focus to include professional liability and contractors’ pollution liability for environmental consultants and contractors. A former geologist and environmental consultant, she brings strong technical expertise to the team.
Mr Dunn was previously vice-president/regional manager at XL Insurance. He has a degree in geology, over five years of environmental consulting experience and more than a decade of underwriting experience in fixed site and contractors’ pollution liability across a broad range of risk categories.
“I am delighted that Dana and Greg have joined our team,” said Jayne Cunningham, environmental liability focus group leader. “With his technical underwriting background and ample business development experience, Greg will fit right in with our disciplined underwriting approach.”
“Dana has been a tremendous asset to Beazley’s A &E team. Her expertise and extensive experience in general and environmental underwriting will be extremely valuable to us as we continue to expand our portfolio.”
Source: http://www.propertycasualty360.com, November 27, 2013
By: Amanda Duncan
Vacancy isn’t the only headache property owners can face: Empty buildings and land can cause pollution-related liability. Learn about possible options to mitigate environmental liabilities through insurance and risk management.
As America’s real estate crisis recovers along with our economy, more than 14 million properties remain vacant or abandoned across the country. Real estate is considered a vacant property when it is not currently occupied or in use. This includes empty lots as well as structures.
Cities like Detroit, Cleveland and Las Vegas are dealing with thousands of undeveloped lots, empty houses and even entire neighborhoods, as well as commercial, retail and industrial properties. This has resulted in an increase in crime and lower property values for surrounding areas. Local communities left to care for these properties by default do not have the time or resources to keep the properties in good condition, thus causing an increase in exposure to risks like vandalism, fire, theft and water damage. In turn, these risks hinder the possibility of resale and revitalization in the future as economic conditions continue to improve, leading to possible setbacks throughout our communities.
Several environmental risks are associated with all types of vacant properties. Older buildings may have existing asbestos insulation and tiles, as well as lead paint and lead piping. All buildings constructed before 1980 have the potential to contain both asbestos-containing materials and lead-based paint. Leaking heating oil tanks, pipes and appliances are prevalent, as well as any chemicals or lubricants stored on premises in garages or sheds.…
Source: The Dominion Post (WV), November 24, 2013
Posted on: http://envfpn.advisen.com
The State Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) has issued a consent order about violations concerning water pollution and waste disposal by Clarksburg-based Central Supply Co. (CSC), including several at its Monongalia County locations.
The Mon County Notices of Violation (NOVs) were issued following inspections at its Morgantown Industrial Park (MIP) facility May 22, 2012, and Feb. 12 of this year; at its Hornbeck Road facility Dec. 7, 2012, and Feb. 12 of this year; and at a fill site on Goshen Road Nov. 28, 2012.
DEP spokesman Tom Aluise explained how a consent order works. NOVs may be issued following an inspection, and may carry fines. In some cases, violations are severe enough to lead to an administrative consent order, which includes the violations, findings of fact, a compliance order and penalty assessment.
The DEP then meets with the company, he said, to discuss the order and negotiate the fine and other changes. The company can then agree to the proposed settlement and sign it, or be subject to a DEP lawsuit. Most sign the order, he said, to stay out of court. The order becomes final after a 30-day comment period.
Under the order, CSC agrees to take all recommended corrective actions. “However, CSC does not admit to any factual and legal determinations made by the [DEP] and reserves all rights and defenses available” in any other proceedings.
The order was issued Nov. 6 and CSC President Dwayne McCartney signed it Nov. 8.
At the MIP site, on May 22, the order says, CSC disposed of material removed during the treatment of control of waste without DEP approval. It also allowed a discharge from its washout pits to flow into the MIP stormwater system, which flows into the Monongahela River.…
Source: http://www.standard.net, October 16, 2013
By: Dana Rimington
A problem may be lurking beneath the surface of farmland soil, and farmers are worried.
The problem, they say, is contaminants that are being sent into storm drains and eventually reach farm irrigation ditches. Farmers pay a high price if they discover their edible crops have been polluted — such a situation forces them to destroy the crop and start over.
“It’s expensive to destroy a crop, but it’s cheaper than a lawsuit on our end if we get people sick,” said Jeremy East, operator of eight farms he leases throughout Davis County.
“In the back of our minds, we know there could be the potential for problems by not knowing what’s in the irrigation water. There is the potential for bad stuff to happen.”
To avoid some problems, East spends around $2,000 to test his water numerous times throughout the year.
He hasn’t encountered any contamination yet, but he is constantly aware of the possibility, knowing his career would pay the ultimate price if his farmland were affected.
“There’s a lot invested into these crops every year, and you don’t normally get a lot back, so it’s scary, because one bad crop could bankrupt anybody,” East said.
When building homes on farmland, developers have to be mindful of the old farm’s drains and irrigation ditches that still reach out to other farmers.…
Read here about Louisiana companies being sued over groundwater contamination that may leach into a city’s water supply.