Last week the State of Connecticut House and Senate passed a bill which would phase out the state fund for reimbursement of petroleum clean-up costs and terminate the underground storage tank clean-up review board. Over the past several years the fate of the fund has been in question because of insufficient financial resources to pay out claims. This legislation provides $36 million dollars to pay out claims over the next 4 fiscal years. Available information implies that municipalities and small business owners may receive complete payment for existing claims, while mid-size and larger companies may only receive pennies on the dollar. The federal government requires UST owners to have sufficient resources to clean-up a leak or spill or maintain insurance. In the past, the state fund had enabled UST owners to comply with these federal requirement.
If you have questions regarding state reimbursement programs for USTs please feel free to contact Jon Kitchen at (508) 747-7900.
It has been more than a year and a half since a new law in Massachusetts required that all homeowners who heat by oil make certain upgrades to their heating systems. The law also required that insurance companies write homeowner policies to offer coverage for leaks from heating systems that use oil. To be eligible for the coverage, homeowners must ensure that their heating oil systems are in compliance with the new law.
If it has been several years since you have reviewed your homeowners insurance or if you are uncertain whether or not you are covered for a home heating oil spill, Norfolk recommends talking with your insurance agent. A home heating oil spill can represents a significant financial hardship. The attached DEP fact sheet reports that a simple leak can cost $15,000 and leaks that affect groundwater can reach $250,000 or more. These types of expenses are the reason most homeowners buy insurance. However, unless you specifically purchase coverage for heating oil releases, you may not be covered.
According to the law, policies offered should include at least $50,000 in “first party coverage.” This coverage relates to the cleanup of oil contaminated personal property and environmental media such as soil and indoor air at the covered property. Additionally, policies offered should include at least $200,000 in “third party coverage.” The third party coverage relates to the cost of dealing with conditions on and off the insured’s property if those conditions have affected or are likely to affect someone else’s property.
If you have questions regarding home heating oil spills, please contact Jon Kitchen at (508) 747-7900 x154 or Joe Salvetti at (508) 747-7900 x154. Also, please feel free to download your own copy of our FREE Massachusetts Heating Oil Spill Information Kit
The Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development has announced that it has made available the application materials for its latest round of the MassWorks Infrastructure Program.
The program is a consolidation of six former grant programs and provides public infrastructure financing to support economic development and job and housing creation. This includes transportation improvements in small, rural communities, mixed use developments, and redevelopment of previously developed sites. All the relevant materials regardind the program are available at www.mass.gov/hed/massworks
The submission period for grant application runs between August 27 and September 10, 2012, so there is still plenty of time to put together an application. The grant award decisions will be made by the end of October. Last year's program awarded grants to 42 communities throughout Massachusetts; projects that are set to begin construction this spring.
If you have questions about the MassWorks Infrastructure Program or how it could apply to you or your organization, please contact Mark Bartlett at (508) 747-7900 extension 131.
Two environmental groups recently filed separate lawsuits against the EPA hoping for further action in addressing nutrient loadings in our nation's waterways. The groups cited water quality problems in our nation's waterways related to excessive algae growth and other nutrient loading issues.
One of the groups concerned with the water quality in the Gulf of Mexico, wanted numeric limitations for nitrogen and phosphorus when such standards aren't already set by each state's water quality standards. Nitrogen is a limiting nutrient in salt water bodies whereas phosphorus is a limiting nutrient in fresh water bodies. The group wants either minimum numeric criteria set or for the EPA to issue a Total Maximum Daily Load for these nutrients.
The EPA denied the group's initial petition, stating it wanted to support targeted regional and state activities and help with the development of state approaches to controlling these nutrients.
Algae Blooms in a fresh water pond
The second lawsuit, by an environmental organization based in New York, wanted action from the EPA on a petition it filed with the EPA in 2007. The petition asked for the EPA to publish revised information regarding the technology for municipal wastewater treatments plants, particularly to reflect recent improvements in nutrient removal in some processes. The publication regarding these treatment plants was last updated in 1985. The group claims updating the publications would form the basis for regulating wastewater treatment plants in the future, requiring some minimum level of nutrient removal.
If you have any questions about wastewater treatment processes or nutrient removal from wastewater, please contact Kevin Klein, P.E. at (508) 747-7900 extension 130.
Information in this blog post taken from the May 2012 issue of Civil Engineering Magazine, article entitled "Lawsuits Seek to Compel US EPA to target Nutrients more Aggressively" by Jay Landers, Pg 22-25.