Location: New York
Summary: In response to a large cost recovery claim from the State of New York against our client, Brickhouse Environmental was contracted to conduct a technical review and assessment of the Remedial Investigation and Source Characterization Studies, conducted by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) and the New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH). The studies were initiated due to a suspected cancer cluster identified in a large residential neighborhood, outside of Binghamton, NY. Based on their studies, the regulatory agencies had concluded that our client’s manufacturing plant was the source of soil and groundwater contamination from TCE and other chlorinated solvents, which then caused contaminated soil vapor to migrate and intrude into residents’ homes. Our client had inherited responsibility for the legacy contamination, as part of its purchase of the parent company.
Brickhouse reviewed the previous reports, applied multiple lines of evidence to assess the validity of previous conclusions, prepared an expert report, and provided scientific defenses against the pending cost recovery actions from the NYSDEC. Our forensic review of groundwater and soil gas chemistry, groundwater flow, preferential pathways in the subsurface glacial deposits, and other factors identified that there were actually three source areas for TCE and other VOCs, and that the vast majority of chlorinated soil vapors beneath the residential neighborhood were from sources other than our client. A legal settlement was then successfully negotiated between our client and New York State Attorney General’s office, significantly reducing our client’s contribution costs and releasing them from future cleanup liability. The State also assumed all responsibility for future operation, maintenance and monitoring of residential vapor mitigation systems in the neighborhood.