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.
Read here about Louisiana companies being sued over groundwater contamination that may leach into a city’s water supply.
Source: http://www.myrtlebeachonline.com, July 19, 2013
By: David Wren
A pollution trial that was sidetracked last year by a lack of jurors is scheduled to start Monday in Conway with would-be condominium developers JDS Development of Myrtle Beach Inc. blaming the failure of their project on groundwater contamination caused by electronics manufacturer AVX Corp.
David and Steve Nance, partners in JDS Development, claim groundwater containing trichloroethylene, or TCE, migrated from the AVX site along 17th Avenue South to their property, causing their bank to withdraw a construction loan for their planned Southern Pines condo project at the intersection with Beaver Road.
AVX denies the allegations and is expected to argue that the real estate collapse – not polluted groundwater – caused the project’s demise.
The case – originally filed in January 2008 – was supposed to go to trial last year, but only 20 potential jurors showed up during the first day of jury selection and the trial had to be delayed. Judge Benjamin Culbertson has said at least 200 people will be summoned this time to provide a sufficient jury pool.
In addition, AVX has filed more than a dozen pre-trial motions that will have to be heard before the trial begins. Most of those motions seek to have certain evidence and testimony excluded from the trial. For example, AVX previously asked Culbertson to bar any references to TCE’s health hazards, claiming such references are irrelevant to the property damages claim and are only an attempt to scare jurors. Culbertson took that request under advisement last year.…
Source: http://theenergycollective.com, April 30, 2013
By: Grant McDermott
In planning my series on the environmental impacts of natural gas for The Energy Collective, I had always intended for my third post to cover the critical issue of water needs. While climate concerns may dominate for some (see my previous posts), it seems fair to say that the most contentious aspect of the shale gas revolution is related to fears over high water demands and contamination risks posed by hydraulic fracturing, i.e. “fracking”.
Unfortunately for me, Jesse Jenkins inadvertently pre-empted my article with a great recent post asking how much water is actually consumed by fracking for shale gas? (Short answer, probably not nearly as much as you think.) While I don’t wish to reproduce Jesse’s article verbatim, I think a recapitulation of his main points is in order:
Read here about a menhaden processor in Virginia that is facing water pollution charges.…
Source: http://www.lexology.com, February 27, 2013
By: Edward V. Walsh, III, Reed Smith LLP
Proposed hydraulic fracturing legislation in Illinois, with strong bi-partisan support and the backing of Illinois Governor Quinn, would impose strict controls on fracking companies relative to most other states where fracking occurs, including chemical disclosure requirements and in the case of water pollution, a presumption of liability.
The Illinois Hydraulic Fracturing Regulatory Act (H.B. 2615) grants authority to the Illinois Department of Natural Resources to write rules, grant permits, inspect fracking sites, and enforce the proposed law. Although energy companies are not currently engaged in fracking in Illinois, a number of companies have expressed interest in, and have acquired drilling rights in, the New Albany shale deposits region of southeastern Illinois.
The proposed legislation also provides:
The bill reportedly has the support of both the business community and environmental groups, and is expected to pass.
To read the full bill, please click here.