Polychlorinated biphenyl

December 18, 2013

Scientists Turn Their Gaze Toward Tiny Threats to Great Lakes

Source: The New York Times, December 15, 2013
Posted on: http://envfpn.advisen.com

The newest environmental threat to the Great Lakes is very, very small.

Tiny plastic beads used in hundreds of toiletries like facial scrubs and toothpastes are slipping through water treatment plants and turning up by the tens of millions in the Great Lakes. There, fish and other aquatic life eat them along with the pollutants they carry — which scientists fear could be working their way back up the food chain to humans.

Scientists have worried about plastic debris in the oceans for decades, but focused on enormous accumulations of floating junk. More recently, the question of smaller bits has gained attention, because plastics degrade so slowly and become coated with poisons in the water like the cancer-causing chemicals known as PCBs.

”Unfortunately, they look like fish food,” said Marcus Eriksen, executive director of the 5 Gyres organization, speaking of the beads found in the oceans and, now, the lakes. His group works to eliminate plastic pollution.

Studies published in recent months have drawn attention to the Great Lakes, where there may be even greater concentrations of plastic particles than are found in oceans. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has also been looking at the impact of microplastics on marine life.…

November 12, 2013

City, state ask Madison-Kipp to replace tainted soil in rain garden

Source: The Wisconsin State Journal, November 5, 2013
Posted on: http://envfpn.advisen.com

The city and state want Madison-Kipp to remove tainted soil from a large drainage ditch between the company and Capital City Bike Trail.

The city-owned “rain garden,” created in 2006 and planted with prairie plants to filter runoff, showed high levels of PCBs in tests last year, and the city and state Department of Natural Resources now want the East Side company to remove the top few feet of soil and replace it with clean soil. Kipp has agreed.

All entities say, “Let’s get rid of this,” said John Hausbeck of Public Health Madison-Dane County.

The city and Kipp minimized immediate health threats but said it’s prudent to remove the soils.

“Those using the bike path generally would not be exposed to what’s going on in the ditch,” Hausbeck said.

Mark Meunier, the company’s vice president of human resources, added, “No one goes in the rain garden. It doesn’t pose an immediate health hazard to anyone. We were asked, ‘Will you dig it out?’ That will be done shortly.”

Ald. Marsha Rummel, 6th District, who represents the area, called the remediation plan “good news.”

City, DNR and Kipp officials, who met Monday, are now deciding the best plan to remove the soil, Hausbeck and Meunier said.…

October 31, 2013

State sues to recover cost of cleaning up Hempfield site

Source: The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, October 30, 2013
Posted on: http://envfpn.advisen.com

Three companies that stored materials at a Westmoreland County scrap processing site between 1940 and 1970 owe the state about $2.3 million for cleaning up hazardous materials that seeped into the ground, the Department of Environmental Protection says in a federal lawsuit filed Tuesday.

The substances found on the 16-acre Everglade Iron and Steel Company site in Hempfield included lead, cadmium, chromium, arsenic and polychlorinated biphenyls or PCBs, the lawsuit says.

The lawsuit seeks to recover cleanup costs from CBS Corp. of New York City, TDY Industries of Pittsburgh and Timken Co. of Canton, Ohio.

Spokesmen for Downtown-based Allegheny Technologies Inc., the parent company of TDY Industries, and Timken declined comment.

CBS spokeswoman Shannon Jacobs said the company tried to reach a settlement with the DEP before the lawsuit was filed and still hopes to reach an agreement. CBS’s involvement in the site is tied to the operations of Westinghouse Electric Corp., she said. Westinghouse bought CBS in 1995 and renamed itself as CBS Corp. in 1997 after selling many of its non-broadcast operations.…

August 6, 2013

MO Superfund Site to Be Cleaned Up

Read here about an old carburetor factory in St. Louis that has been approved for a $30 million clean up.

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April 30, 2013

PCB Dredging on Hudson River

Read here about cleaning of contaminated sediment on the Hudson River that has just started its fourth year.

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April 10, 2013

Grasse River Cleanup Approved

Read here about the approval of a $243 million cleanup that has been approved for the Grasse River in New York.

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March 29, 2013

The Changing Landscape Of Liability For Natural Resource Damages

Source: The Metropolitan Corporate Counsel, March 19, 2013
By: John G. Nevius, Anderson Kill & Olick, P.C.

Many jurisdictions have announced that they plan to more actively pursue natural resource damages (“NRDs”) from potentially responsible parties (“PRPs”) deemed liable under CERCLA or Superfund. Recent developments in case law have changed the landscape when it comes to assessing the scope of this CERCLA/NRD liability and how to pay for it. NRDs are defined as “the dollar value of the appropriate degree of restoration necessary to assess, restore, rehabilitate, replace or otherwise compensate for the injury to ‘land, fish, wild life, biota, air, water’ as a result of a discharge.” NRDs also may be exacerbated by the spreading out of a discharge because of events such Superstorm Sandy said to be associated with climate change.

Apportionment Of CERCLA Liability, Causation And Insurance Implications

Under the 2009 Burlington Northern case, certain PRPs may be able to “apportion” their environmental liability where the facts provide a reasonable basis for division according to the respective contributions to the harm alleged. However, subsequent cases have clarified or limited apportionment where it has been asserted as a defense to further cleanup liability. See, e.g., the 2012 case, USA v. NCR Corp. Alternatively, jointly and severally liable PRPs without sufficient facts to support apportionment may be able to take advantage of traditional equitable principles to instead “allocate” their NRD liability. Several practical factors such as the PRP’s degree of involvement or cooperation come into play in allocating, but the results are often similar to what one eligible to apportion might expect. The key difference is that those faced with allocation remain jointly and severally liable and must generally complete the cleanup before seeking contribution. Apportionment, on the other hand, can offer a defense to conducting further work.…

March 7, 2013

Seller of drained transformers containing residual PCBs insulated from CERCLA "arranger" liability

Source: http://www.lexology.com, February 22, 2013
By: Andrew H. Perellis and Ilana R. Morady, Seyfarth Shaw LLP

If you sell products that you no longer need that contain residual hazardous substances, and the buyer mishandles them so as to create the need for remediation, are you liable under CERCLA for having arranged for disposal of the hazardous substance?

A federal District Court recently granted summary judgment to a CERCLA defendant concluding that because the company did not take intentional steps to dispose of a hazardous substance, it was not subject to CERCLA liability. In Carolina Power & Light Company (CP&L) v. Georgia Power Company et al., No. 08-CV-460 (E.D. NC February 1, 2013), CP&L filed a contribution complaint alleging that Georgia Power arranged for the disposal of hazardous waste when it sent electrical transformers containing PCB-laden oil to the Ward Superfund Site.

Yet Georgia Power only sent transformers to the site that were capped to prevent oil spillage or that had been drained of oil and contained only a residual oil sheen. The transformers also had resale value: the Ward Transformer Company repaired and reconditioned the transformers and sold them for a profit.

The Court granted Georgia Power’s summary judgment motion based on its consideration of several factors:

  • Value and usefulness of materials sold. Because Ward was able to resell the transformers for a profit, and because the transformers were, by extension, useful materials, the Court found that Georgia Power had not arranged for the disposal of a hazardous waste.
  • State of the product. Because the transformers were either capped or drained of oil save for a residual sheen, the Court found that Georgia Power’s purpose was not to dispose of the PCB-laden oil.
  • Knowledge. Although Georgia Power had general knowledge about transformer repair and PCBs in transformer oil, it did not have knowledge that the oil would be spilled or leaked at the Site.

This case is a reminder that simply sending a hazardous material to a Superfund site is not enough to establish arranger liability under CERCLA. Courts will undertake a fact-specific inquiry on whether a CERCLA defendant had the necessary intent to qualify as an arranger.

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March 5, 2013

Seller of drained transformers containing residual PCBs insulated from CERCLA "arranger" liability

Source: http://www.lexology.com, February 22, 2013
By: Andrew H. Perellis and Ilana R. Morady, Seyfarth Shaw LLP

If you sell products that you no longer need that contain residual hazardous substances, and the buyer mishandles them so as to create the need for remediation, are you liable under CERCLA for having arranged for disposal of the hazardous substance?

A federal District Court recently granted summary judgment to a CERCLA defendant concluding that because the company did not take intentional steps to dispose of a hazardous substance, it was not subject to CERCLA liability. In Carolina Power & Light Company (CP&L) v. Georgia Power Company et al., No. 08-CV-460 (E.D. NC February 1, 2013), CP&L filed a contribution complaint alleging that Georgia Power arranged for the disposal of hazardous waste when it sent electrical transformers containing PCB-laden oil to the Ward Superfund Site.

Yet Georgia Power only sent transformers to the site that were capped to prevent oil spillage or that had been drained of oil and contained only a residual oil sheen. The transformers also had resale value: the Ward Transformer Company repaired and reconditioned the transformers and sold them for a profit.…

February 6, 2013

IN Superfund May Become a Park

Read here about Superfund site in Indiana that may become a public park.

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