State enforcement action arises in two ways: 1) Issuance of a compliance order after site inspection reveals non-compliant waste storage or evidence of leaks and spills; 2) Issuance of an order or commencement of unilateral remediation in response to discovery or reporting of a significant spill or groundwater contamination.  

In order to incentivize site cleanup and redevelopment, most states also have “voluntary” cleanup programs such as Pennsylvania Act 2.  These allow parties to investigate and remediate property and receive state agency approval and statutory liability release commensurate with the degree of“cleanup” accomplished. These programs include a risk-based “site-specific standard” which can be attained with a combination of remediation, monitoring, and a recorded Environmental Covenant setting forth maintenance requirements and land use restrictions.  State approval documentation as well as the statutory liability release are often critical for sale of property or financing.     

Environmental counsel can give valuable advice to clients regarding the trade-offs associated with extent of remediation and future land use limitations and restrictions which are often imposed as conditions of approval. Counsel can also resolve state claims for remedial cost reimbursement or civil penalties.    

selected experience
  • Representation of building owner in addressing TCE and petroleum groundwater contamination as well as  vapor intrusion issues, caused several decades earlier by an industrial tenant.

  • Representation of non-profit entity after discovery that previously acquired urban property  is significantly impacted by over 40 years of dry cleaning operations having utilized PCE. 

  • Representation of departing long-term tenant at an impacted truck stop facility. Negotiation of PA Act 2 Buyer-Seller Agreement with PADEP; Negotiation of three- party remediation agreement including the site owner and prospective purchaser.

  • Represented chemical manufacturer in negotiation of settlement with both PADEP and local sewer authority which would allow reissuance of necessary permits and resolution of  government response cost claims,   upon consummation of a pending acquisition of the business. 
  • Representation of community redevelopment non-profit in acquisition and remediation of contaminated industrial property, and seeking PA Act 2 approval allowing site redevelopment.                                                                                                                                        
  • Represented commercial property owner in seeking Pennsylvania Act 2 approval based on "Background Standard" for contaminated groundwater caused by historic operations at neighboring properties; Advised client own potential claims against current and former owner/operators of neighboring properties.