Gradient’s scientific insight helps clients resolve environmental insurance cost recovery claims. Our knowledge of the historical evolution of waste management practices, environmental science, and regulations is pivotal for understanding expected/intended issues in these cases. We have experience with the research and forensic reconstruction of historical operations and release events for a wide range of industry sectors, from aerospace manufacturing to power plants. In addition, our expertise in environmental forensics and contaminant fate and transport is useful for addressing issues related to release timing in these matters.
Some examples of industry expertise:
Herbicide Fate and Transport for an Insurance Claim
Gradient evaluated the relationship between historical applications of an herbicide and recent detections in groundwater and surface water throughout the US. We developed a conceptual framework for evaluating herbicide movement in the environment subsequent to application and illustrated the extent to which applications can contribute to detections in groundwater and surface water 10-50 years after application.
Cost Recovery for a Manufactured Gas Plant
Gradient provided insurance cost recovery technical support at a former Manufactured Gas Plant site in the western US. We obtained, reviewed, and analyzed historical documents, aerial photographs, and environmental data to characterize the nature and timing of releases of potentially hazardous substances that may be associated with the former MGP.
Insurance Cost Recovery for Mining Waste Remediation
Gradient evaluated the timing and magnitude of historical erosion and deposition of mining wastes. We integrated observations from historical photos, first-hand accounts, air modeling, and prior sampling data to develop a robust interpretation of the timing of erosion from early mining operations to the present day.
Cost Recovery for a Regional Contaminant Plume
For an insurance claim involving a former aerospace manufacturing facility, Gradient reviewed historical documents, developed a numerical model, and developed an extensive groundwater quality database in order to provide technical evaluation and expert testimony related to the sources, release timing, and fate and transport of chlorinated solvents, PCBs, and other contaminants associated with a regional groundwater plume.
Cost Recovery for PCBs in Building Materials
For an insurance cost recovery dispute, Gradient evaluated the mechanism and timing of property damage from PCBs in building materials such as caulk and paint. To establish the timing of the property damage, we evaluated published literature on the fate of PCBs in building materials and modeled PCB migration from caulk in an indoor environment.
Coal Ash Insurance Cost Recovery
Gradient provided expert testimony related to insurance coverage “trigger” issues at multiple coal-fired power plants in the southeastern US. Vadose zone and saturated zone models were developed for each site to simulate contaminant transport from on-site coal ash surface impoundments. The models were used to evaluate when impacts to groundwater first occurred at each site.