Our firm manages three multi-party hazardous waste sites, two in Indiana that are in the EPA Superfund program and one in New Jersey under the NJDEP’s LSRP program. One of the Indiana sites is on EPA’s National Priority list. Norm Bernstein has been a Trustee at these sites since they entered their respective remediation programs. In that capacity, he has negotiated Consent Decrees and Consent Orders and their amendments with EPA, negotiated tough contracts with remediation contractors at all three sites, overseen successful litigation against a remediation contractor that failed to meet its contractual cleanup obligations and has obtained significant concessions from EPA regarding oversight costs. He argued and won a landmark Superfund case in the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, Bernstein v. Bankert [click here for the decision] arising out of a contribution claim one of the trusts brought against a property owner and its insurance carrier.
The Indiana sites at which Norm Bernstein is a Trustee involve volatile organic compound contamination of soil and groundwater and at one of the sites, DNAPL contamination. The New Jersey site, at which Norm Bernstein is a Trustee, involves investigation and remediation of PCB contaminated soils, and an investigation of claims regarding PCB and heavy metal contamination of sediment.
The responsibilities of the trusts include day to day supervision of environmental engineers and contractors retained by the trusts, coordination with technical committees staffed typically by engineers from companies participating in the trusts, negotiating remediation issues with government, and providing periodic reports to the companies that participate in the trusts. We believe that there are few, if any, law firms that come close to our level of hands on experience at hazardous waste sites or our ability to integrate engineering, legal and regulatory considerations in managing the problems of such sites.
We also conduct more routine work, like negotiating a resolution of civil liability with the DOJ regarding its cost recovery claims against an individual formerly in the waste hauling business, pursuing federal District Court litigation against former gasoline station owners and gasoline distributors for soil and groundwater contamination, defending contribution claims brought against a client by a large petrochemical company at a hazardous waste site in the New York area, and extracting from a NYSDEC cost recovery proceeding a property owner whose predecessor rather than the current owner contaminated the subject property.
If you or your client has (or may have) a hazardous waste related problem, talk with us. We can help you manage the problem.