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Third Party Oversight to Protect Property Valve of Land Owner

Project Highlights:
  • Represent a property owner whose property was contaminated by a gasoline service station owned by a major oil company.
  • Actively pursued responsible party to avoid land devaluation due to insufficient remediation of the site
  • Performed a comprehensive review of site investigation and remediation activity
  • Identified significant data gaps, poor data interpretation, and improper well design that may contribute to increased contamination
  • Pushed lead agency to aggressively pursue assessment and remediation of the site, after years of inaction
  • Review and address vapor intrusion potential to current site occupants
  • Based on meetings and negotiation the responsible party is now fully engaged in additional assessment, with steep fines to be implemented if the work is not completed

EEC Environmental (EEC) represents a property developer who owns a shopping center that contained a service station for several decades.  Soil, soil vapor, and groundwater contamination were discovered beneath the property.  A major oil company, responsible for the contamination, implemented site investigation and remedial measures.  However, the oil company determined they had remediated the volume of contaminants that it calculated had been released from the site and therefore terminated remedial measures without the approval of the local oversight agency.

The oil company argue that they should receive a low-risk closure for the site, despite the presence of free product, which they claim is from others sources (a claim that has not been proven), and the presence of significant levels of volatile organic compounds (VOC) vapors beneath the site, which the oil company claims is also from other sources.  If closure was granted, EEC’s client would be left with a property with potentially significantly decreased value, and the current property occupant in overlying stores could be subject to vapor intrusion concerns.

EEC conducted an independent assessment of the site data and demonstrated that the oil company had not fully assessed the site, including failure to identify additional potential sources areas of contamination. Further, EEC determined that the oil company had not properly calculated the volume of contaminants that was likely released and that potential vapor intrusion condition was present and required evaluation.

EEC and the client’s legal staff have been aggressively working with the local oversight agency to take charge and order additional assessment and remediation. This work has included multiple meetings with the oversight agency and oil company to establish consensus on a path that would lead to a mutually agreeable closure strategy. The oil company has now been ordered to conduct further assessment activities on a compressed timeline and regulatory oversight has been significantly enhanced, providing the protections that EEC’s client requested.