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Matson & Associates, Inc.
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State College, PA 16801
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Representative Cases: PRP Cost Allocation

Determining the Source of PCBs at a Former Industrial Site, Seattle, Washington
An asphalt manufacturing facility had occupied an industrial site along the west bank of the Duwamish River for several decades dating back to the 1940s. From the 1960s to the early 1970s the facility received waste transformer oil from the power company as a fuel source for its operations. In the 1980s, the industrial site was identified as a source of PCBs contributing to contamination in the sediments in the Duwamish River. In 2001, the Lower Duwamish Waterway Superfund Site was added to the EPA's National Priorities List due to contamination from PCBs, dioxins/furans, carcinogenic polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (cPAHs), and arsenic. Soil analyses from the site and sediments from the river bank revealed Arcolor 1260 (Monsanto’s trade name for PCBs) as the dominant Aroclor. A law suit over clean-up costs was filed by the power company against the asphalt manufacturing company, who then sued the current owner of the site. Cleanup of the Lower Duwamish River is ongoing.

Our client, representing the current site owner, retained M&A in the cost allocation dispute to determine whether the PCBs present on the site came from the waste transformer oil provided by the power company. Since we had over a decade of experience in cases concerning PCBs, M&A referred to its extensive collection of documents on historical PCB use. Our knowledge of the marketing, sale and use of different Aroclors in the electrical industry, namely transformers, the presence of PCB contamination in transformers over time and knowledge of PCB regulations provided a strong foundation for the expert report. In addition, M&A statistically analyzed thousands of transformer oil data to obtain an understanding of the composition of the waste oil provided to the asphalt company during the relevant time period. We provided expert opinions that the power company’s waste transformer oil was the likely source of PCBs at the site. The case settled shortly after M&A’s deposition.

Evaluating “Imminent and Substantial Endangerment” for a PCB-Contaminated Site,
Cahokia, Illinois
A former truck terminal used for washing out tankers during the 1960s was located on a small portion of a site owned by an oil and gas company. During operations, wash water and small amounts of products left in the tanks containing PCBs and other chemicals were drained to surface impoundments at the terminal. In the early 2000s, PCBs were discovered in the soils at the former terminal, and the EPA began working with the current owner of the site (the oil and gas company) to characterize and address the PCB contamination. The current owner filed suit against the operator of the former truck terminal under both CERCLA and RCRA to compensate them for addressing the PCBs.

Our client retained M&A on behalf of the operator of the former truck terminal to evaluate whether the current site conditions with respect to PCBs presented an imminent and substantial endangerment to human health or the environment as defined by EPA under RCRA 7002. In order for this situation to exist, we had to identify potential pathways for the transport of PCBs offsite and the receptors with potential exposures. We reviewed discovery materials, documents produced via FOIA requests with the EPA, peer-reviewed literature, aerial photos, and case law on RCRA 7002 suits to assist with our evaluation. In addition, we conducted a site visit to observe and analyze the topography, vegetative cover, and other features important in assessing potential pathways for the transport of PCBs off-site. Using the above resources plus our knowledge of the physical and chemical properties of PCBs, we followed a generally-accepted methodology to evaluate three scenarios for off-site transport of PCBs. M&A provided an expert report to our client opining that the site did not present imminent and substantial endangerment to human health or the environment.

Other Representative Cases:

Litigation Support


Expert Witnessing