The Road Goes on Forever and the Trial Never Ends

Written by John C. Bird, P.G., Vice President of EnviroForensics
As seen in the June 2009 issue of Western Cleaner & Launderer

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On Monday this week, May 18 th a State Court jury awarded $18.3 million to the City of Modesto in their 11 year old lawsuit against dry cleaning chemical manufactures, suppliers and equipment manufactures. The City of Modesto had sued Dow Chemical, PPG Industries, Goss-Jewett, R.R. Street & Co. and others for a threat of groundwater contamination at four dry cleaner sites in the City of Modesto. According to the City of Modesto, several municipal supply wells had been impacted with perchloroethylene (PCE), a chemical widely used by the dry cleaning industry. The City alleged back in 1998, among other things, that the defendants made a defective product and they failed to warn the dry cleaners about the threat to groundwater from letting PCE discharge into the City’s sewer system. The jury trail lasted 5 months and is apparently not over yet. Both sides in the case do not appear to be completely happy with the jury’s decision. Continue reading “The Road Goes on Forever and the Trial Never Ends”

Sometimes It’s Not Only the Cost of the Cleanup

Written by John C Bird, P.G. Vice President of EnviroForensics

In Las Vegas, NV this week, the State of Nevada filed suit against the property owners and business operators of long-time dry cleaner for allegedly contaminating the State’s groundwater.  According the State’s lawsuit, the dry cleaner has impacted groundwater beneath the site and the contaminant plume has spread more than 4,000 feet underneath several residential neighborhoods and past the Las Vegas National Golf Course property.  According to the State’s webpage regarding this dry cleaner, the discovery of a discharge of tetrachloroethylene (PCE) was first reported on November 29, 2000 via State’s spill-reporting hotline. The release was discovered during a routine environmental site assessment performed as part of a property transaction.  According to the latest groundwater investigation report, PCE was present in all but two of the wells sampled with concentrations ranging from 2.0 parts per billion (ppb) to 2,600 ppb.   Safe drinking-water levels are considered to be less than 5.0 ppb for PCE. Continue reading “Sometimes It’s Not Only the Cost of the Cleanup”