Environmental Protection Agency

December 18, 2013

EPA continues investigation of vapor intrusion in Riverside

Source: http://envfpn.advisen.com, December 15, 2013
Posted on: http://envfpn.advisen.com

The Environmental Protection Agency will spend the next two months collecting air samples from homes in the Avondale community to determine how serious vapor intrusion is for those Riverside citizens.

But in the meantime, residents are worried about their health and property values.

The area of concern is bordered by Guernsey Dell Avenue, Minnesota Drive, Hypathia Avenue, Rohrer Boulevard and Valley Pike. There are about 130 residences in that neighborhood.

Vapor intrusion occurs when underground pollutants give off dangerous gases that can rise up through the soil and seep into buildings through foundation cracks and holes, causing unsafe indoor air pollution, according to the EPA.

The drinking water is not impacted by these site conditions, according to the EPA. The drinking water comes from the city of Dayton’s public water supply.

Steve Renninger, on-scene coordinator for the EPA’s Region 5 in Cincinnati, said it is possible the contamination extends beyond the initial area of concern.

“The data drives the decisions,” Renninger said. “If we start seeing elevated levels past in any direction, we’ll step it out another block until we see it subside.”

Kenneth Emmons, who lives with his parents at 2620 Bushnell Avenue, said since he and his fiancee moved in back in June, he regularly gets headaches and becomes nauseated.…

December 16, 2013

New look at old refinery aims to assess sources of pollution

Source: http://www.news-journal.com, December 8, 2013
By: Peggy Jones

Federal oversight of the old Longview Refinery property on Premier Road entered a new phase this past week when environmental experts from across Texas met there to inspect existing groundwater monitoring wells and pick locations for new soil and groundwater testing that will begin early next year.

The new round of Environmental Protection Agency testing is aimed at determining whether toxic hazards still exist at the refinery, which operated from 1935 until 1992, and if so, to what degree. Officials said they hope results can determine the source of contamination and help them draw up a plan to remediate it.

Owner Ken Williams, under the gun to clean up the property, is making a case to the EPA that any contamination present today migrated from off-site, because there has been no activity on the property for 21 years.

In February the EPA will install 14 groundwater monitoring wells, collect subsurface soil samples from the monitoring well borings, and develop the new and existing monitoring wells according to an agreement reached between Williams and the federal agency. All data will be analyzed at the EPA laboratory in Houston.

The tour Monday was guided by Williams, president of Gregg County Refining, who told the group, “We have nothing to hide.”

They spent hours trudging through often-times shoulder-high brush to determine locations for the new test sites, most of which were selected based on topography and the flow of groundwater.…

June 20, 2013

EPA suit seeking remedies for past pollution triggers an insurer's duty to defend under a premises pollution liability policy

Source: http://www.lexology.com, June 12, 2013
By: Walter J. Andrews, Lon A. Berk, Lawrence J. Bracken II, John C. Eichman, Robert J. Morrow and Curtis Porterfield, Hunton & Williams LLP

In Louisiana Generating LLC v. Illinois Union Ins. Co., No. 12-30651 (5th Cir. May 15, 2013), the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit held that a lawsuit brought by the Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”) alleging violations of the Clean Air Act (“CAA”) obligated an insurer to defend its insured. The court found that the EPA suit sought potentially covered “remediation costs,” as defined in the policy, and that the policy did not exclude coverage for the injunctive relief sought by the EPA.

Background

Louisiana Generating LLC (“LaGen”) owns and operates a coal-fired electric steam generating plant in Louisiana called Big Cajun II. In 2005 and 2006, the EPA sent LaGen Notices of Violation (“NOVs”) alleging that major modifications to the plant had not been completed with the proper permits and that the modifications were causing emissions levels in violation of the CAA. In January 2009, LaGen’s parent company, NRG Energy, Inc., purchased a Custom Premises Pollution Liability Policy (the “Policy”) from Illinois Union Insurance Company (“ILU”) covering a number of facilities, including Big Cajun II.…

June 14, 2013

5th Circuit holds policy covers EPA suit

Source: http://www.lexology.com, May 30, 2013
By: Manatt Phelps & Phillips LLP

In a coverage dispute based on underlying environmental litigation, the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals held that Illinois Union Insurance Co. must defend Louisiana Generating LLC in an action brought by the Environmental Protection Agency and the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality.

“Big Cajun II,” a coal-fired electric steam-generating plant owned by LaGen, was targeted by the EPA and Louisiana’s state equivalent for allegedly toxic emissions. The agencies filed suit seeking a variety of relief, including an order for LaGen to “remedy, mitigate, and offset the harm to public health and the environment” caused by the alleged violations of the Clean Air Act, the assessment of a civil penalty for each day in violation of the CAA, an order to mitigate emissions and an injunction to repair emission control equipment to comply with regulatory standards.

LaGen turned to Illinois Union to defend and pay liability, if any. The applicable state law was again an important consideration, and here the court applied New York law.

Analysis of the policy language at issue covered “Claims, remediation costs, and associated legal defense expenses… a result of a pollution condition.” The Fifth Circuit took great pains to match up the specific policy language at issue with its reading of New York law. The court determined that the policy covered remediation costs and nothing under New York law limited such coverage whether these costs were incurred voluntarily or as a result of a government demand. The insurance company further sought to apply an exclusion for fines and penalties, which the company argued was the context in which these costs were incurred. The court rejected that outcome, holding that the exclusion could not swallow up and nullify the clear grant of coverage for remediation costs.

To read the decision in Louisiana Generating LLC v. Illinois Union Insurance Co., click here.

Why it matters: What does a policy actually pay for? That is the question at the heart of the dispute in the 5th Circuit case, which again serves to remind policyholders to read the policy to understand the terms of coverage. The court’s opinion also emphasizes that under New York law, an insurer has a broad duty to defend and policyholders will be entitled to a full defense as long as some of the underlying allegations are covered by the terms of the policy. The policyholder must be armed with this understanding before it presses its demands for coverage.

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June 12, 2013

Report: Septic systems big contributor to Great Bay pollution

Source: http://www.seacoastonline.com, May 16, 2013
By: Aaron Sanborn

Sources of nonpoint nitrogen pollution in the Great Bay estuary is spread out almost equally between septic systems, fertilizers and atmospheric pollution, according to a new report.

The N.H. Department of Environmental Services unveiled its draft report, Great Bay Nitrogen Non-Point Source Study, during a two-hour presentation Thursday at its Portsmouth field office. Release of the report was highly anticipated given the long fight between local communities and the federal Environmental Protection Agency over more stringent regulation of area wastewater treatment plants.

Nonpoint sources have been identified as contributing to 68 percent of the bay’s nitrogen load with the remaining 32 percent from sewer plants along the Great Bay estuary that release nitrogen into the waterways during the treatment process

Until the release of Thursday’s report, no study had been done on the breakdown of these sources into the estuary. Ted Diers, watershed management bureau administrator for DES, described these sources as being hidden within a “black box” until now.

“We knew it was there, but we didn’t know what was inside,” he said. “My hope for the study is that it generates much discussion and planning for a future that includes a Great Bay with less nitrogen input.”

The report indicates 33 percent of nonpoint nitrogen pollution in the estuary comes from atmospheric deposition, while human waste from septic systems and chemical fertilizer each contributed 27 percent. Animal waste was cited for 13 percent.…

May 1, 2013

Fridley Superfund site to become business campus

Source: Saint Paul Pioneer Press (MN), May 1, 2013
Posted on: http://envfpn.advisen.com

A Minneapolis developer known for cleaning up industrial sites has plans to turn Fridley’s biggest and most polluted parcel into a sprawling business campus.

Paul Hyde of Hyde Developments has been in discussion with city officials for nearly two years to buy 122 acres of contaminated land south of Interstate 694 and redevelop it into a roughly $140 million industrial park.

With a purchase agreement signed and a review of environmental impacts from the project recently completed, the company plans tentatively to close on the site this summer, Hyde said.

Once built-out, the development along East River Road is expected to add about 3,000 jobs and about $2.5 million in annual property tax revenue for the city, Hyde said.

“If it comes to fruition, it would mean a significant improvement to an otherwise fairly blighted industrial site with hazmat on it,” Fridley Mayor Scott Lund said. “It would mean millions added to our tax base … permanent jobs. It’s a very good deal for Fridley.”

Formerly known as the FMC site, the parcel is home to the state’s largest industrial building. The nearly 2 million-square-foot structure was built in 1940 as a naval ordnance manufacturing facility for the Northern Pump Co., which later became FMC Corp., according to Scott Hickok, Fridley’s community development director.

Now owned by a company based in St. Louis, the building was leased to BAE Systems about 10 years ago for military contract work.…

April 9, 2013

Plans in Place to Clean Up Former Coal Gas Site

Read here about plans by the EPA to clean up contaminated soil and groundwater at the site of a former coal gas site.…

April 1, 2013

Goodrich To Pay at Least $21.5 Million to Clean Up Rialto, Calif. Superfund Site

Source: Dow Jones News Service, March 26, 2013
Posted on: http://envfpn.advisen.com

Goodrich Corp. will be required to pay at least $21.5 million to clean up contaminated groundwater and soil at a Superfund site in Rialto, Calif., the Environmental Protection Agency said.

Along with previous settlements, the order will result in a clean-up of the site that could cost as much as $100 million, the agency said.

The contamination is tied to the testing and production of solid-fuel rocket propellant in Rialto from 1957 to 1962 by B.F. Goodrich Corp., the EPA said. The aircraft-component maker later became Goodrich Corp., and was acquired by United Technologies Corp. (UTX) for $16.5 billion last year.

A representative from United Technologies didn’t have an immediate comment.

Goodrich’s operations contaminated the area with trichloroethylene and perchlorate, which contributed to the closure of public drinking wells in the area, the agency said. The site was added to the EPA’s National Priorities List for Superfund sites in Sept. 2009.

Trichloroethylene, an industrial-cleaning solvent, can cause damage to the nervous system, liver and lungs, while perchlorate can disrupt the production of hormones needed for growth and development.

The cities of Rialto and Colton sued Goodrich in 2004 and 2005, and the EPA joined the lawsuit in 2010 to require cleanup of the site.

Under an administrative consent order, Goodrich will be required to install additional groundwater monitoring wells and conduct testing and analysis this year and in 2014 to assist with the development of a cleanup plan.

The company will design, build and operate soil and water cleanup facilities chosen by the EPA.

Another manufacturer, KTI Inc. has agreed to pay $2.8 million for costs related to the site, the EPA said.

The settlement follows nine years of litigation and will assure that groundwater contamination at the site is addressed, said Jared Blumenfeld, EPA’s regional administrator of the Pacific Southwest.

Write to Kristin Jones at kristin.jones@dowjones.com

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March 18, 2013

Teva To Pay $2.25 Million To Resolve Missouri Pollution Allegations

Source: Dow Jones News Service, March 14, 2013
Posted on: http://envfpn.advisen.com

Generic-drug maker Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd. (TEVA, TEVA.TV) will pay $2.25 million to settle allegations its plant in Missouri broke environmental laws over a period of years, including by releasing pollutants that discolored part of a nearby river, the U.S. Justice Department said.

The Israel-based company was accused of violating federal clean-air and clean-water laws and hazardous waste laws at its facility in the city of Mexico, Missouri, officials said.

A representative from Teva, which is the world’s biggest manufacturer of generic drugs, wasn’t immediately available for comment.

In 2007, inspectors from the Environmental Protection Agency found that Teva’s facility was discharging pollutants above permitted levels, overwhelming the city’s ability to treat its domestic sewage, officials said. In 2008, the company was found to be releasing a green effluent that changed the color of the Salt River in late 2008.

Teva also failed to control its air pollution emissions from its wastewater in 2007, the Justice Department said.

And in 2009, state regulators found that the company failed to identify hazardous waste, illegally stored it, and offered it for transport without proper documentation.

“With numerous violations over a period of years, Teva’s actions resulted in significant environmental damage to the air and water,” said Karl Brooks, administrator of EPA Region 7.

Half of Teva’s penalty will be paid to the U.S. Treasury, while the other half will be paid to the state of Missouri.

The company has also agreed to take other actions valued at around $2.5 million, including installing equipment to reuse around 59.5 tons of methylene chloride and reduce its other emissions.

Teva has benefited from surging growth in recent years as patents expire on many high-demand pharmaceuticals.

Growing competition has pressured many generic drug makers’ margins, and Teva’s fourth-quarter earnings fell 37% to $ 320 million, amid weaker sales of generic drugs and lower overall sales in the key U.S. market.

Shares closed at $41.06 on Thursday and were unchanged after hours. The stock is up 10% since the start of the year.

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February 28, 2013

After decades, judge undaunted on residents' concerns at Love Canal

Source: Buffalo News, February 25, 2013
Posted on: http://envfpn.advisen.com

The federal judge who oversaw the Love Canal lawsuit for nearly two decades has asked state and federal officials for a “detailed response and plan of action” on how to correct any difficulties that might still exist in the neighborhood surrounding the 21,800-ton chemical landfill.

U.S. District Judge John T. Curtin said he was “very concerned” by allegations that some neighborhood residents have made about Love Canal in a recent series in The Buffalo News.

Curtin said government officials assured him many years ago that the toxic wastes buried at Love Canal were safely sealed off from the surrounding neighborhood, where hundreds of families live and where a senior citizen center, playground, youth baseball fields and a senior citizen apartments complex were built.

The judge said he was alarmed by resident complaints that chemicals are leaking from the landfill and contaminating their homes.

Government officials who oversee the landfill insist that the neighborhood is safe and that no chemicals have leaked from the site.

“I am concerned,” the 91-year-old judge said in an interview. “We had a very important order in our case here at federal court, and I want to be sure that it’s being carried out effectively. I want a full report from the state and federal authorities to see what is going on there.”

Curtin’s letter went out Feb. 15 to the federal Environmental Protection Agency, the U.S. Justice Department and the state Department of Environmental Conservation.…