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Environmental Case Studies

Example:  A maintenance department used solvents for parts washing.  They performed the washing over a drain leading to an on-site septic system. Over time, the septic system leach field migrated into the surrounding soils and groundwater. At the time of the septic system closure and conversion to a public sewer system, the contamination was discovered. Site remediation exceeded $720,000.

Example:  A general contractor performing renovation to a building had a negligence claim filed for creating unsafe air quality conditions in the ventilation and air filtration systems.  Employees on the premises claimed to have suffered serious injuries from inhalation of and exposure to toxic fumes and airborne contaminants.  A $10 million claim was filed against the general contractor and building owner.

Example:  A golf course sent all of its waste golf cart batteries to an off-site battery recycling facility for disposal.  Over a period of several years, the battery recycling facility did not adhere to applicable federal and state environmental regulations and it was turned into a Superfund site.  The golf cart batteries were a waste and the golf course was found jointly liable for pollution conditions caused by the battery disposal facility. The golf courses settlement for cleanup exceeded $175,000.

Example: A manufacturer began expansion of the production line area. During excavation, oily soils with a petroleum odor were discovered. Further investigation uncovered an old, undocumented sludge-drying pit, which the previous owner used back in the 1940’s. The manufacturer had to remove and remediate the soils at his expense. Cleanup costs exceeded $400,000.

Example: An excavation/grading contractor unknowingly spread petroleum-contaminated soil across a project site during fill operations.  The contractor and property owner were named in a lawsuit for exacerbating the extent of contamination. After lengthy deliberations, the contractor and property owner were eventually removed from the lawsuit, however, they had invested $250,000 in defense.

Example: A HVAC contractor was hired to upgrade an office buildings heating system. While working in the building, the contractor failed to vent the system properly, causing a release of carbon monoxide. Building occupants complaining of headaches and nausea were rushed to the local hospital. As a result, several bodily injury suits were filed against the building owner in excess of $1,000,000.

Example: A dry cleaner leased commercial space from a property owner.  PCE a dry cleaning chemical was detected in soil and groundwater.  The dry cleaner was forced out of business and the property owner paid $940,000 for investigation, remediation, defense and third party bodily injury and property damage claims.