Many people have heard about the health risks associated with hazardous waste and toxins leaching into water systems, landfills, and more. Despite increased awareness of environmental issues and great interest in reducing pollution, there is much to be done to begin cleaning up our communities and countryside as fast and efficient as possible.
One outstanding example is unfolding now in Johnson County, Indiana, where at least 79 local children have been diagnosed with rare brain, bone, and blood cancers caused by toxins in their environment. The county’s cancer rate is higher than both the state and the national average.
Residents have known about the problem for at least 10 years, but recently released documents reveal that federal and state regulators have known about the contamination for over three decades. During the 1990s, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) mandated that owners of the Amphenol manufacturing site remove contaminated soil and toxic sewer systems and install a pump to remove toxic chemicals linked to cancer. Even before that, in 1984, high levels of contamination were detected in the soil and water that surrounds the site. Though even now, remediation is not complete.
Another frightening example occurred in New York in what is known as the Love Canal disaster. A massive landfill that had been used as a municipal and chemical dumping site caused environmental and health problems for an entire New York community, which included homes and a school. Superfund was created through the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act in 1980, just after this disaster occurred. Since then, over 1,700 sites have been added to the cleanup list. However, as of 2013, only 370 had been cleaned up. The majority of those sites are still in varying stages of cleanup.
The sad truth is that environmental cleanups can take decades. They are drawn out for many reasons. In many cases, the polluters procrastinate by refusing to take responsibility for the health risks they have created. Problems are compounded when legal enforcement is not effective or there are so many groups involved that one is unsure what the other is doing.
In remediating contamination on a private property, the cleanup can be complicated by private parties who have overlapping interests. For instance, a buyer and seller of the property may both have some measure of responsibility for cleaning it up, and they may enter into agreements to complete the cleanup. Unfortunately, the agreements may not contain clearly spelled out rules that detail what the cleanup would involve or define a schedule. All of this can cause a cleanup to drag on.
If you are concerned about environmental toxins in your area and need guidance, we can help. Please call Williams Cedar at 215-557-0099 or contact us online to arrange a free consultation with a seasoned Pennsylvania water contamination lawyer. We represent clients throughout New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and nationwide. Our offices are centrally located in Philadelphia and Haddonfield, New Jersey.