In 1990, Congress passed the Oil Pollution Act, also known as the OPA. The act was in response to the Exxon Valdez oil spill in 1989, and it amended the Clean Water Act of 1972. Its purpose was to avoid oil spills from vessels and facilities, and it works by enforcing removal of spilled oil and assigning liability for the cost of cleanup and damages among responsible parties. In 1994, to support the OPA, the Environmental Protection Agency revised Subpart J of the National Contingency Plan. Subpart J …Continue Reading
You may have read about the slew of lawsuits filed over the past few years by Long Island water districts seeking to recover damages arising from alleged contamination of drinking water supplies by 1,4-dioxane. Our blog has covered them here, here, here, and here.
There is news on the settlement front. One of the primary defendants and the U.S. government have agreed to resolutions in two cases: Bethpage (in the amount of $49 million) and South Farmingdale (in the amount of …Continue Reading
On December 23, 2021, New York Gov. Kathy Hochul signed a new amendment to the public health law that will create New York’s first emerging contaminants list, and expand the number of chemicals to be included—many of which are per- and polyfluorinated substances (PFAS). Some say this new law establishes New York as perhaps the strictest jurisdiction in the U.S. with respect to testing drinking water for PFAS. Under the new legislation, titled “An act to amend the public health law, in relation to establishing …Continue Reading
On December 3, 2020, a study authored by a team of researchers from the University of Washington was published in the journal Science, linking a transformation product from a common tire additive to the death of Coho salmon in the Puget Sound. Researchers had observed acute mortality in Coho salmon in the area for decades, and while the mortality had been previously linked to storm water, and then later to tires generally, the exact causal toxicant was unknown until now.
6PPD, one of several …Continue Reading
Illinois’ highest state court in Gordon Berry, et al, v. The City of Chicago has rejected a proposed class action that threatened to overwhelm Chicago with claims over elevated lead contamination risk from its old lead water lines. On September 24, 2020, the Illinois Supreme Court overturned the ruling of a state appeals court, ruling a Circuit Court of Cook County judge was correct in finding Chicago homeowners needed to do more than simply claim the lead in their water was dangerous in order to …Continue Reading
On October 2, 2020, Massachusetts became the latest state or commonwealth to promulgate stricter water quality regulations for per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS). The Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection issued a new standard of 20 parts per trillion (ppt), which is more than three times lower than the present federal standard of 70 ppt (i.e., for the sum of PFOA and PFOS). MA’s new standard is more expansive as it covers the sum of six PFAS chemicals: the well-known PFOA and PFOS, and …Continue Reading
On July 30, 2020, New York’s Public Health and Health Planning Council voted in support of maximum contaminant levels (MCLs) for PFOA and PFOS—the two most well-known per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS). The Council voted to set the MCLs for both chemicals at 10 parts per trillion—among the lowest levels adopted by any state, and significantly lower than the U.S. EPA’s current guidance levels of 70 ppt.
Another chemical—1, 4-Dioxane—also has an MCL of 1 part per billion now. New York announced that this regulation …Continue Reading
In March 2019, we posted about the strategy behind the Long Island water districts’ 1,4-dioxane litigations against major manufacturers—and then in October 2019, we followed that post with another report on the increasing number of those suits , which became the subject of a 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss. These suits filed by public water suppliers seek to recover costs against major manufacturers and promoters of the chemical for the design, construction, installation, operation, and maintenance of water treatment facilities and equipment required to remove …Continue Reading
On May 14, 2020, the EPA indicated it will not be imposing any limits on perchlorate, a chemical compound the EPA previously characterized as “a persistent contaminant of concern.” Perchlorate can be man-made or it can form naturally in the atmosphere in arid states in the Southwest U.S., in large deposits of sodium nitrate fertilizer in Chili, and in potash ore in the Northwest and Canada. Manufactured perchlorate is used in rocket propellant, munitions, explosives, fireworks, road flares, and in food containers and equipment that …Continue Reading
As many readers are aware, harmful algal blooms, or HABs, have presented significant concerns for many states with lake regions and communities. HABs occur when algae grows out of control in an area, resultantly producing toxic or harmful effects on people, fish, marine mammals, and birds. There are a variety of HAB types, as they can be caused by a variety of algal groups with different chemical toxin compositions. The human illnesses caused by HABs, though rare, can be debilitating or even fatal. As a …Continue Reading