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The tiny pinhole in the pipe elbow probably took more than twenty years to form and cause a leak, a day or two to be discovered, and less than an hour to be repaired. This recent claim involving corrosion of a pipe elbow on a home heating oil tank resulted in a very minor release of a few gallons of heating oil to the surrounding surface soil. The insured acted appropriately, the release was quickly investigated and repaired. Based on the size of the tank and volume of the release, state regulations did not apply; however, local regulators became concerned over the possibility of impact to shallow groundwater in the area. Although the shallow aquifer was not considered a source of drinking water, it was used extensively for irrigation. Furthermore, the property owner soon began to notice petroleum like odors inside the home/office necessitating relocation for a couple of days. After the repair of the leak, the situation was completely resolved in a few weeks with the excavation and removal of impacted soil from beneath a patio and a portion of the building adjoining the point of release. Fortunately, the release was discovered early, quickly repaired, and the volume of the spill was not sufficient to impact groundwater, which could have easily transported contaminants and associated vapors well beyond the boundaries of the insured's property.
Previous research indicates there are additional (often unreported) benefits from saving energy.1,2 This paper identifies these "additional benefits" and describes how to calculate their value.3,4 In addition, we found a high percentage of facility managers experienced some of these benefits. For example, in a recent survey, 92% of facility managers experienced reduced maintenance material costs as a result of energy conservation (primarily because lights, filters and other equipment lasted longer when operated less hours per year).
"I'm trying to anticipate and manage environmental issues related to a construction project, but I am having a hard time finding resources. What are some construction-related environmental issues I should keep an eye out for since this appears to be an overlooked area?"
The willingness to view risk as part of daily life has vanished. A risk-averse mindset among environmental regulators engenders confusion between the ethics of intention and the ethics of consequence, leading to the elevation of the precautionary principle with unintended and often unfortunate outcomes. Environmental risk assessment is conservative, but the actual level of conservatism cannot be determined. High-end exposure assumptions and current toxicity criteria from the USEPA, based on linear extrapolation for carcinogens and default uncertainty factors for systemic toxicants, obscure the degree of conservatism in risk assessments. Ideally, one could choose a percentile of the target population to include within environmental standards, but this choice is complicated by the food, pharmaceutical and advertising industries, whose activities, inadvertent or not, often promote maladaptive and unhealthy lifestyle choices.
The benefits of reducing health-care associated infections (HAIs) are well documented, impacting both the general health of a facility and its bottom line. According to the CDC, HAIs cost the healthcare system $37 to $45 billion annually and account for an estimated 1.7 million infections and 99,000 deaths.
The world of brownfield insurance (BI) was recently shocked to learn that AIG was non-renewing its site pollution liability (SPL) book of business. AIG's Pollution Legal Liability Select (PLLS) policy, issued in 1995, was environmental insurers' first response to the Brownfields Movement. It allowed them to modify previously restrictive and inflexible policies so that they could be used to facilitate transactions. The idea of the policy was that the insured would be able to "select" specific coverages out of a number of modules based on distinctions of time, location, and types of damage, for instance On Site Cleanup Costs due to Pre-Existing Pollution Conditions. However, in addition to this selection process, specific policies also need to be manuscripted or tailored to fit specific risks. They are negotiable contracts, and, as illustrated by most of the cases involving such policies over the last 10 or 15 years, need to be negotiated by coverage experts.
Financial institutions require the completion of environmental due diligence of a commercial real estate collateralized lending transaction for many reasons. They may wish to understand the environmental condition of the proposed collateral and ensure a Borrower's compliance with applicable regulations prior to making a loan; to reevaluate the collateral during a renewal or refinance transaction; to determine the collateral's condition at the time of a loan default; or to obtain information about an unexpected environmental condition encountered within the loan term.
I read with interest the article by Ken Kaye on two scientist's challenge of other scientist's linking warmer oceans to more intense hurricanes (Sun-Sentinel page 1, December 13, 2007).