Former Lumber Mill, Crescent City, California

Environmental Consulting Representative Projects

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Former Lumber Mill (Crescent City, California)

EnviroForensics® was brought in to work with a bankruptcy trustee, their legal counsel and a bankruptcy court to characterize the environmental conditions of a former lumber mill, assess natural resource damages to an esturine environment, and to develop a risk-based closure. The goal was to facilitate the sale and transfer of the former mill to the City for use as a wastewater treatment facility.

EnviroForensics® worked with legal counsel to locate historical insurance policies that were used to fund: Onsite and offsite environmental investigations, to obtain a defense that required investigations, to obtain a defense that required investigative work with regulatory agencies, and to identify other parties that may have caused or contributed to the environmental conditions, in order to evaluate the associated risks to the site and the surrounding esturine environment. EnviroForensics® utilized a sophisticated mix of scientists, risk managers, insurance archeologists, property transfer specialists, and risk assumption insurance products to support legal counsels’ strategy in an effort to resolve one of the longest bankruptcies in California’s history by facilitating successful transfer of the contaminated property and impaired liability. The technical investigation has focused primarily on dioxins that threaten marine habitat and have been found miles from the site. The investigation has been further complicated by varying regulatory actions being undertaken by the federal government on some properties and by the state government on others. Multiple sources may have contributed to the environmental risks, including other mills and aerial dispersion associated with the historic burning of wood waste. To date, the former lumber company’s insurance carrier has funded the investigation. EnviroForensics® ‘ approach has been to work with the insurance carriers to identify other responsible parties that may have caused or contributed to the contamination. The end goal is to restore the property and obtain risk assurances so that a buyer can operate the property without fear of being pulled into the historical liability. To bring closure to this long standing problem and resolve the bankruptcy, EnviroForensics® is working to protect policyholders and carriers from future exposure to liability.

The final remedy will allow for the City to utilize this long abandoned property to build and operate a wastewater treatment facility. This final end use of the property is a true “Brownfield” success featuring the use of a blighted property for the betterment of a coastal community.