DERF Goes Broke (Again): Historical Insurance Remains Source of Funding

For the second time in 5 years, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources’ (WDNR) Dry Cleaner Environmental Response Fund (DERF) has run out of funds necessary to keep pace with claims from dry cleaners dealing with perc cleanups. In the meantime, the WDNR has expressed no intention to slow down its enforcement activities.

The language from WDNR Hydrogeologist Theresa Evanson, P.H.’s letter to drycleaners specifically states, “Despite the projected DERF revenue shortfall and anticipated delays in reimbursements to eligible drycleaners, state law still requires that those responsible for contamination or who own contaminated property undertake investigation and cleanup of those properties.” This is an alarming statement to many drycleaners already involved in the DERF and uncertain when they’ll receive DERF aid. It’s even more disturbing if you’re a dry cleaner who’s trying to refinance or sell his business and who was counting on the DERF to be there if due diligence detected any contamination.

Continue reading “DERF Goes Broke (Again): Historical Insurance Remains Source of Funding”

DEALING WITH THE PERCEPTION OF RISK; THE VALUE OF HAVING AN EFFECTIVE COMMUNICATIONS PLAN

Written by Stephen Henshaw, P.G., President & CEO, EnviroForensics
As seen in the October 2013 issue of Cleaner and Launderer

Over the years, environmental regulations have gotten more and more restrictive.  The permissible levels of chlorinated solvents in groundwater, soil and indoor air continue to be pushed lower.  While the acceptable level of PCE in indoor air was actually increased by the federal government, the acceptable level of TCE (a breakdown product of PCE) was drastically lowered, which has resulted in an increase of Sites posing a public health risk.  It is the vapors, which contain volatile organic compounds from releases of cleaning solvents or gasoline, which is posing the greatest risk to people living or working near the Sites where the contaminants were released.  The regulatory requirement to evaluate the fate and distribution of these contaminated vapors into homes, apartments, schools, and businesses is raising the publics concern and could create the perception of risk and with those perceptions associated concerns and fears of health effects.

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Cradle to Grave Responsibility And Long-Tail Liability

Written by Stephen Henshaw, P.G., President & CEO, EnviroForensics
As seen in the September 2013 issue of Cleaner & Launderer

Most people that purchase, handle and manage cleaning solvents, are familiar with the terms “Cradle to Grave Responsibility” and “Long-Tail Liabilities”.  Cradle to Grave responsibility has been used to describe the fact that any person that generates a waste material that is classified, as a hazardous substance is responsible for that waste from the time it is generated until pretty much the end of time.  The Cradle to Grave system is a provision with legislation known as the Resource, Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) which passed in 1976 and focuses to a large degree on the management of hazardous waste. There is no time limit or expiration date that will release a generator from this long-term management responsibility.  This is why the management of hazardous substances is termed Long-Tail Liability.

Everyone knows that when a site is contaminated, the person that caused the contamination is responsible for cleaning it up.  But what happens when the party that operated the site is no longer around, either financially or administratively.  Who then pays for the cleanup? Continue reading “Cradle to Grave Responsibility And Long-Tail Liability”

Selecting An Environmental Consultant; What Firm Is Best For Your Situation

Written By Stephen R. Henshaw, P.G., President & CEO, EnviroForensics
As seen in the May 2013 issue of the Cleaner & Launderer

Selecting an environmental con­sultant can be a daunting task and for small business owners that do not have day-to-day exposure with soil and groundwater contamination it’s very difficult to know the difference between consultants. This article is meant to shed light on the differences between environmental consultants and to present the different methods for selecting an environmental con­sultant. It’s my goal to show people that selecting the right consultant for your situation is a very important decision and should not be taken lightly. If a business person doesn’t know that there are differences be­tween environmental consultants, countless hours and dollars may be wasted, projects could drag on and site closure could be a distant glimmer.

This article will go through some of the selection and screening meth­ods that small business owners use when selecting an environmental consultant to address environmental liabilities.

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EnviroForensics Provides Litigation Support Services Nationwide

Written by Justin Gifford, General Counsel, EnviroForensics

Whether you’re an attorney that specializes in complex environmental tort claims or are riding herd over specialized outside counsel, environmental law is unique in its blend of science, regulation and statute. When it comes to defending against EPA claims or pursuing actions against third-party polluters in complicated class actions, few if any individual lawyers or firms are able to successfully carry the day without a strong litigation support team, and that’s where EnviroForensics comes in. Coordinating technical experts with decades of experience with insurance archaeologists and risk managers, EnviroForensics’ full-service environmental Litigation Support Services are unmatched.

EnviroForensics provides a variety of services which can be critical to achieving the desired outcome in environmental litigation. Some of the litigation support services that EnviroForensics provide include determining the fate and transport of subsurface contaminants, human health & ecological risk assessments, Confidential Insurance Archaeology ® to locate coverage, damage assessments, expert witness testimony, coordination of expert witnesses and preparation of courtroom exhibits. When cleanup bills, property damage and responsible party status are on the line, EnviroForensics’ Litigation Support Services can act as a critical part of your legal strategy.