Property owners released from liability

fast facts

Project: Liability determination

Client: Private insurer

Size: 350 acres

Services provided: EPA document review, site investigation, soil and groundwater sampling

Property owners released from liability

H2M was involved in the investigation of a 350-acre Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Superfund site. The industrial site was developed in the 1950s and had 135 operating companies. A large, dense, non-aqueous phase liquid (DNAPL) and dissolved phase chlorinated solvents plume had migrated into an aquifer utilized for local water supply, prompting the need for the construction of a public water supply distribution system. H2M was retained by an insurance carrier representing the site’s property owners, who were possibly on the hook for the cleanup. Our mission was to determine the property owners’ reasonable percentage of liability for the remediation.

We began with a complete review of EPA documents, insured’s documents, and site investigation data from the 500 monitoring wells in the area. We performed a review of each property’s historical business use, including site chemical usage. Based on the historical nature of each property and subsequent soil, soil gas, and groundwater investigations, each insured was classified based on potential exposure due to site operations and the findings in the pending EPA decision document.
Our conclusion was that our insureds’ properties had little to do with the contamination and creation of the plume. The final report was used by the carrier to successfully drop their insureds from the lawsuit with several million dollars of savings realized.

H2M continues, on the insurance company’s behalf, to monitor EPA work, individual consultant activities, and findings—including the effect on the insurance company’s exposure—for their property owners.


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