Property Contamination

Pavement removal is one of the first steps to remediating contamination caused by dry-cleaning solvent.

The discovery of property contamination is usually the beginning of a long and frequently complex fight. If your property was contaminated, the feeling is one of helplessness—how did this happen, what can be done to clean-up the contamination, and who is financially responsible? The questions are equally pressing when one is accused of causing contamination—did I actually do this, and how to I protect myself, my business, and my family?

These questions require prompt attention, as the cost of clean-up is oftentimes extravagant, and it can be extremely difficult to navigate the governmental regulatory process triggered upon discovery of many types of contamination. In addition to all of this, there are frequently questions concerning whether someone has been physically injured by the contamination, and what must be done to protect everyone’s health. Dealing with contamination is scary and frequently requires the attention of an attorney.

Helping families and businesses with property contamination issues is, literally, this law firm’s passion. Most of our cases revolve around property contamination. We understand what you are going through. We know how to get contaminated land cleaned, and we know how to help those accused of contamination protect each and every one of their rights. We know what steps to take to ensure your health is not in danger, and, if it is in danger, we know how to relieve the danger quickly and cost-effectively.

There are numerous types of property contamination, and we know how to handle them all:

  • Brownfields. Buying property with contamination can be risky. Thus, contaminated property acts as a drag on the marketing and sale of land. Our State has determined that it is good public policy to encourage the sale of property. Hence the Brownfields program, which reduces the risk to purchasers and, under many circumstances, provides such purchasers with tax incentives. Because of its importance, we have an entire page dedicated to this important program.
  • Flooding, water runoff, erosion, and sedimentation pollution. When vegetation is stripped from land or a property’s natural topography is altered, frequently damage to adjacent properties follows. This is because such grading can redirect water or simply cause it to move faster, resulting in flooding and erosion. If proper groundcover measures are not taken, such practices can cause sedimentation pollution. We handle these types of cases regularly and know the experts and regulations necessary to stop the problem and repair the damage.
  • Indoor air quality. When you are inside your home or place of work, you expect that you are in a safe environment. Unfortunately, that is not always so. Different conditions can cause dangerous indoor air quality issues, including radon, asbestos, and mold. These can be complex claims involving the need for environmental experts, thus making the involvement of an experienced attorney important.
  • Leaking Underground Storage Tanks. Usually associated with gas stations or older homes, soils and groundwater can be destroyed by a leaking underground storage tank. Our State has mechanism to help with clean-up, including a trust fund that property owners can access for financial assistance. This is really a field unto its own, and we have an entire page dedicated to this topic.
  • Mold Infestation. Mold issues usually arise in the context of newly constructed homes or apartments leased by tenants. We can help you select the proper mold-testing organization, and we can help you achieve a full clean up and compensation from the builder, landlord, or other person or entity responsible for the mold growth. We also know the medical experts experienced in treating patients exposed to mold. If you believe your life has been impacted by mold growth, we can help.  Because we handle so many mold contamination cases, we have an entire page dedicated to this important program.
  • Superfund, also known as CERCLA. If hazardous substances contaminate property, the Superfund program is frequently at issue. Superfund is a mechanism through which the federal government, or in some cases the state government, cleans up contamination and forces responsible parties to pay for the costs of clean up. The reach of this program is quite extensive: generally, any person owning the property from the time of contamination and thereafter will be responsible for a portion of the remediation. Oftentimes it does not even matter if a property owner was at fault. Due to this powerful, wide-reaching Superfund program, it is wise to hire experienced legal counsel to assist. We are familiar with, and have successfully asserted, the defenses to Superfund actions.  Because of its importance, we have an entire page dedicated to this important program.
  • Water pollution. The contamination of surface water or groundwater is a serious matter. Not only is the health of wildlife put at risk, but water supply sources are also in peril. Thus there is a need to react to fix the contamination immediately, yet this can be a difficult goal in light of the numerous environmental laws that can be implicated. Whether your case concerns the Oil Pollution and Hazardous Substances Control Act, the Sedimentation Pollution Control Act, or any of the other many laws concerning water quality, we know how to navigate the law and facts and steer you toward victory.

Obviously, this is not an exhaustive list of the types of property contamination cases we have experience handling. Instead, we aim here to offer a mere taste of the different flavors of property contamination cases. If you believe your property has been contaminated, or if you have been accused of causing property contamination, please contact our firm for a free consultation.

For more information please call (919) 754-1600 or email us.