Groundwater Contamination

Trichloroethylene (TCE) Contaminated Drinking Water

The City of Tucson discovered that its groundwater, in certain areas from which drinking water was supplied, was contaminated with Trichloroethylene. The contamination arose from the airport activities during WWII when planes were routinely washed down with TCE.

ICTM principals consulted for nearly ten years in the lawsuits that followed. Our efforts and services included:

  • analyzing epidemiological studies,
  • evaluating the water distribution system,
  • determining which of the thousands of claimants may have been exposed to the water,
  • speaking to the city council, and
  • developing comprehensive strategic and tactical approaches to defending these alleged health claims.

Our efforts also included detailed analyses of and reports about opposing experts' positions and multiple meetings with defense counsel. In the end, our clients settled the claims for a relatively modest amount, tens of millions of dollars lower than the original demand.

Underground Storage Tanks Leak Gasoline Products

Leaking underground storage tanks (UST) had caused migration of gasoline products toward several private residences in West Virginia. The oil company had set up monitoring wells to follow the path of product migration. The community had been informed about the situation and the immediate actions being taken to protect their health and homes. No lawsuits had been filed, but several of the homeowners had reported gasoline odors in the basement of their homes and they were concerned about both their health and possible explosion risk.

ICTM professionals were retained to assist in the investigation of the potential health risks, risk communication with the homeowners and the implementation of health protection and surveillance measures. We first met with the community to introduce ourselves and explained what we planned to do. We then visited and assessed the affected homes individually, after which we met with the homeowners, explained what we had found and set up environmental monitoring devices in the homes.

Based on our site inspection and environmental monitoring results, we were able to reassure the homeowners that there were no increased health risks as a result of the UST leak and that the odors did not represent an explosion or fire risk. We scheduled periodic site visits to the affected homes until the situation was rectified, each time performing environmental testing, speaking with the residents and reporting our findings and planned actions. We were available to homeowners at all times by telephone, in order to respond immediately to any of their concerns. All of the residents were able to stay in their homes while corrective measures were taken, thus saving the insurance company tens of thousands of dollars. Ultimately, the contamination was contained; the residual product was completely removed from the affected homes confirmed by sampling, and the homeowners were satisfied with the efforts put forth by all parties. No one experienced ill health, litigation was avoided, and property values were not adversely affected.


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