Environmental remediation

September 20, 2013

State to undertake $500,000 cleanup of Pottstown Plating

Source: http://www.pottsmerc.com, September 18, 2013
By: Evan Brandt

The state is stepping in to make sure a half-million-dollar environmental cleanup at a closed plating facility in the borough gets completed after the bankrupt owner stopped work.

The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection announced Wednesday it would take over the removal of hazardous materials left over at the former Pottstown Plating on South Washington Street at the intersection with Industrial Highway.

The company, which performed electroplating, opened in 1950 and closed in 2009 just before going bankrupt, according to the DEP.

When the DEP inspected the site in 2009, it found a number of environmental issues that needed to be addressed and the company’s owners hied a contractor to removed hazardous waste there.

However, work stopped in 2010 “due to lack of funding,” and when the DEP issued an order for the clean-up to continue in October 2011, no further action was taken, according to the DEP release.

DEP spokesperson Lynda Rebarchak said the estimated cost for the cleanup is $553,851.

“Since this does not include off-site lab analysis costs, or extra funds for unexpected expenses, the final cost is likely to be higher,” she wrote in an email to The Mercury.

So far, there is no evidence there have been any releases into the environment.…

April 17, 2013

Environmental liability – Beware!

Source: Ottawa Business Journal (Blog), April 15, 2013
By: Jeysa Martinez, Brazeau Seller LLP

Innocent and blameless property owners may be exposed to significant environmental liability risk.

When assessing environmental liability one might think that, if a land owner did not create nor contribute to an environmental spill or contamination, fault and fairness would be taken into consideration before a cleanup order is issued against an otherwise innocent party. In May of 2012, in the case of The Corporation of the City of Kawartha Lakes v. Director, Ministry of the Environment, the Ontario Divisional Court concluded that an innocent party can be held liable for the pollution on their property, even though that pollution was caused by someone else. In this case, the Court upheld the decision made by the Environmental Review Tribunal in 2009. The Court focused on the purpose of the Environmental Protection Act and, although the Court did not go so far as to exclude the fairness factors from being considered (as they were in the Appletex case, a previous decision which set out the “fairness factors”), the Court did confirm that the Ministry of the Environment’s Compliance Policy allows the Ministry to exercise their authority and issue cleanup orders against innocent owners. The Divisional Court further noted that the Environmental Protection Act specifically contemplates that innocent owners can be held responsible for environmental cleanup costs regardless of fault and, accordingly, the Director is not required to consider the fairness factors before issuing a cleanup order to one or more parties.

We have stepped away from the days where the size of the deal dictated the nature and extent of a buyer’s due diligence efforts. As we have learned from the case above, innocent landowner’s may be served with environmental cleanup orders. As a result, now more than ever, a prospective purchaser must always assess the potential risk for environmental liability and cleanup costs and should at all times conduct an Environmental Risk Analysis as part of the due diligence process in order to avoid liability for environmental spills or contamination caused by previous owners.…

March 7, 2013

N.J. DEP: New privatized toxic-site-cleanup program clears cases faster

Source: Philadelphia Inquirer, March 4, 2013
Posted on: http://envfpn.advisen.com

For almost 50 years, trucks drove in and out of Monmouth Petroleum in North Jersey, filling up with heating oil for home delivery. But leaks and abandoned storage tanks left the site contaminated, another spoiled property in a state filled with shuttered industrial sites.

Now, a developer is building an apartment complex on the Manalapan Township site — a plan that New Jersey environmental officials say might have taken years longer, or never happened, if not for the state’s new privatized cleanup program.

“The numbers are increasing, and, anecdotally, what we’re seeing is the simpler cases are moving much faster,” said Ken Kloo, director of remediation management for the state Department of Environmental Protection. “It’s freed us up for the higher-priority cases, those where . . . potential human exposure is our highest priority.”

Since the state began in 2009 handing off day-to-day control of environmental cleanup to the private sector, the monthly rate of completed cases has risen almost 30 percent compared to the two years before the program began, according to data provided by the DEP.

But as the process accelerates, environmentalists worry that without direct state oversight, lands on which people could one day live and play are not being cleaned up to state standards and could present a public health risk.

Bill Wolfe, a former DEP official and frequent critic of the agency, said allowing environmental-cleanup firms, which are often paid by the polluters, to police themselves would inevitably lead to shortcuts.…

February 22, 2013

Court dismisses San Diego’s claims of damage from petroleum releases

Source: http://www.lexology.com, February 15, 2013
By: David Erickson and Mark Anstoetter, Shook Hardy & Bacon LLP

A federal court in California has dismissed the City of San Diego’s claims against the owner of a former petroleum depot. California v. Kinder Morgan Energy Partners, L.P., No. 07-cv-1883 (S.D. Cal. 1/25/13). Petroleum from the former depot operation had reached the groundwater and was found in water below the city’s property. Remediation of the depot site had proceeded with cooperation and oversight by the San Diego Water Board. The subsurface petroleum contamination was addressed in accordance with agreed cleanup levels. San Diego, however, later ordered remediation to pre-release conditions and sued seeking damages.

San Diego raised a variety of claims, all of which in some way sought damages for other uses that the city might have made of its property absent the contamination, including use as a water storage site and for multiuse development. According to the court, the city failed to prove that it was necessary to remediate the property beyond the levels contemplated in the existing remediation. It also held that the city could not obtain damages (largely measured by loss in rental value) for “lost” uses that the city had neither attempted nor proved were possible at the site. Although the petroleum was within a groundwater zone that had historically been used to provide potable water, no such use had been made since 1936. The court thus determined that the city had not proven that it could make such use of the property, even if remediation were to return the contamination to background levels.


February 14, 2013

Program helps property owners clean up polluted land

Source: Echo Press (MN), February 10, 2013

For 25 years, Minnesota’s petroleum remediation programs have provided assistance and partial funding for businesses, schools, farmers and homeowners who are responsible for cleaning up property contaminated by petroleum tank leaks.

These leaks are a liability for property owners because they can contaminate drinking water, and under certain conditions, the vapors can enter sewer pipes or buildings, where they can pose a health threat or even cause a deadly explosion.

Over 17,000 sites have been cleaned up since the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency’s Petroleum Remediation Program was established in 1987. Almost 40 percent of the sites being cleaned up today are at small businesses, such as gas stations.

“These days, we get about 400 calls per year reporting contaminated sites, and we finish about 500 cleanups per year,” Michael Kanner, the program’s manager, said. “We’re beating the problem.”

Protecting human health and the environment

State and local officials became concerned in February 2007 after routine well testing in the city of Foley revealed high levels of petroleum contamination. The well was near two properties that once had contained fuel tanks. Over the course of many years, the tanks had leaked into the surrounding soil, and changes in water use patterns caused contaminants to be drawn into the well.

Responding promptly, city managers began working with the MPCA to investigate the contamination and determine how best to protect the town’s water. The MPCA awarded funds from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act to help the city install a new well and supply line. Today, Foley’s drinking water is drawn from a well located safely outside of the contaminated area, and experts have determined that the leak no longer presents a hazard to the community.…

December 11, 2012

Metal Refinery Agrees to Cover Cleanup Costs

Read here about a Nebraska company that has agreed to pay a half million dollars to help cover environmental cleanup costs.


October 29, 2012

Mold Takes Over University of Louisville Student Resident Building; Mold Removal Recommends Non-Toxic Mold Remediation Products to Clear the Spores from the Hall

Source: http://news.yahoo.com, October 11, 2012

High level of mold spores were detected in one of the residence halls of the University of Louisville. MoldRemoval.biz suggested the use of non-toxic mold remediation sprays to the officials for an effective and safe mold treatment.

Louisville, KY (PRWEB) October 11, 2012
Mold took over a freshman residence building at the University of Louisville. As a result, 270 students were requested to move out from the building. But wanting to help, Mold-Removal.biz suggested the use of non-toxic mold remediation products to safely clear the mold spores from the place.

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According to a report from wave3.com,mold spores specifically occupied the Miller Hall of the university. An inspection initially determined aspergillus and penicillium as the mold spores that invaded the hall. It was said that they can cause health problems to those who have weak immune system. And so, university officials deemed it is best to move out the students and get the building cleaned.

The said infestation was discovered after an inspection was done following a student report in September, related the report. The said inspection was implemented during the university fall break last October 5.

Additionally, the report detailed that students will be transferred to other university residence complexes or hotel rooms near the campus. They will have until October 14 to move out.…

April 4, 2012

Utility Contractor – Sediment

Source: Rockhill Environmental/NECC Newsletter

A utility contractor left an unfinished concrete vault open over the weekend. Heavy rains washed away sediment controls allowing sand and silt to be released from the unfinished vault into the adjacent bay. The contractor was subsequently fined by a regulatory agency for natural resource damage resulting from the release of sediments into the bay.…

April 2, 2012

Polluted land awaits cleanup

Source: http://www.mysuburbanlife.com, March 21, 2012
By: Elizabeth Stoever

Site remediation depends on owners

Since completing construction of his home in the 200 block of Ninth Street in 1956, Alfred Martinez, 89, has lived within sight of what he calls “the most polluted area in St. Charles.”

Once located next to an active railroad, the land between Sixth and 12th streets north of Dean and State streets has been used by several industrial businesses since the late 1800’s. Over the past century, portions of the 336,000 square-foot plot of industrial space were used for dumping and settling lagoons for manufacturing byproducts, according to a study by development advisors S.B. Friedman and Company.

But with the site now vacated, city leaders have been in talks with developers to clean up the land.

Since the site has a long history of multiple manufacturers, “it’s hard to say what businesses were responsible for what,” when it comes to the land’s contamination, said Russell Colby, the city’s planning division manager.

Therefore, taxpayers will likely foot the bill to clean up and remove contaminants from the site. The city has already proposed using tax revenue generated by a possible future housing development to cover the $4.9 million estimated remediation and land preparation costs. That estimated price also includes the cost to demolish buildings used by Applied Composite that were removed from the site about two years ago.

But other than offering developers funding, the city’s involvement with the site’s remediation is limited. The level of remediation required by the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency depends on the property owners and how they use the site.…

January 24, 2012

Legal matters: Environmental mess needn’t be a legal mess

Source: http://finance-commerce.com, January 17, 2012
By: Dan Heilman

Property owners can avoid being saddled with cleanup if they do their homework

Two of the most discussed pieces of property in the Twin Cities in recent months have been the former Arden Hills munitions site as a potential spot for a new Vikings stadium and the old St. Paul Ford plant that closed in December.

What the sites have in common is that they’re the subject of a lot of redevelopment talk, and both would be subject to environmental remediation before any redevelopment can occur.

Those high-profile properties, however, are only two examples of an issue that potentially affects every real estate transaction: environmental liability. Under state and federal law, an owner of real property can be held liable for the cost of removing and cleaning up hazardous waste contamination even if the contamination existed before the purchase.

That’s why it’s important for purchasers of any property, but especially commercial property, to do their homework before signing on the dotted line.

“The federal and state liability laws create problems for property owners who haven’t done due diligence prior to purchase,” said Joe Maternowski, an attorney with Hessian & McKasy in Minneapolis. “The federal Superfund laws, as well as laws related to underground storage tanks, create liabilities for owners.”…