Author Archives: Mike Sowinski

A Proposal To Improve Institutional Control Effectiveness Through Better Mapping

Try to read a typical institutional control (IC) and locate its boundaries. We bet you can’t. You will find a complicated legal description referring to metes and bounds, but not a map of the restricted areas that you can actually see and understand. Only licensed surveyors can decipher these legal descriptions, but all the parties […]

The Release of an Institutional Control Data Schema and Flow

  Marking a big step forward in the “institution” for institutional controls (ICs), on June 10, 2013 the Environmental Information Exchange Network (EIEN) announced the release of an IC Data Exchange. The IC Data Exchange provides a standard means for sharing IC information between separately-owned computer systems – including sharing among different levels of government and between […]

Dig Clean Excavation Advisory Begins in Delaware

As another step towards increased environmental agency integration into one-call systems, on December 17, 2012 Terradex expanded its Dig Clean service on behalf of the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Conservation (DNREC).   Terradex Dig Clean builds near real-time advisories that it sends to contractors and designers after they submit “locate requests” but  before […]

Slowly But Surely: One Call Systems Increasingly Used for Environmental Cleanup Sites

Slowly but surely, often with close involvement of Terradex, the power of one-call helps manage cleanup sites.  In every state, call-before-you-dig or “one call” laws require a phone call (or increasingly an electronic notice) of the planned dig.  State one-call centers route the resulting “excavation tickets” to the people and companies who own or operate underground […]

Brownfield Developer Fails to Meet BFPP Defense; Found Liable Under CERCLA for Removing Concrete Slab Above Contaminated Soil

This Saline, Michigan case adds another decision to similar recent cases such as Ashley II and Robertshaw, which assess whether current owners of contaminated property met CERCLA’s Bona Fide Prospective Purchaser (BFPP) defense.  It also showcases the interesting legal question concerning the relation between BFPP requirements to (1) take reasonable steps, after acquisition, to prevent “releases” and (2) […]

Terradex Keeps Contaminated Soil Safely Managed

We often think of Institutional Controls (ICs) as prohibiting certain uses – for example, prohibiting groundwater use, prohibiting daycare or school, etc.  But often, and importantly, ICs help make sure that contaminated soil, when excavated,  is managed properly and isn’t, for example, carried away for use as “clean fill.”  For those who deal with ICs, […]

BNA to Host September 28th Webinar On Continuing Obligations

Two Terradex leaders, Bob Wenzlau and myself (Michael Sowinski), accompanied by Tim Haley of Barnes and Thornburg, will lead a September 28th, 2pm EST webinar, hosted by BNA.  Our main focus will cover the recently published ASTM E2790-11, “Standard Guide for Identifying and Complying With Continuing Obligations.”  This Guide provides industry consensus on good methods or “best practices” […]

ASTM Publishes Continuing Obligations Guide

After years in the making and on the heels of two recent court decisions addressing “appropriate care,” ASTM published E2790-11, the “Standard Guide for Identifying and Complying With Continuing Obligations.”

Panel at Brownfields 2011 to Discuss Emerging Trends of IC Stewardship

A group of institutional control experts and state and local government experts, in a roundtable setting, will describe and compare thoughts about emerging trends in the IC institution, and particularly IC monitoring and stewardship, during an upcoming educational session at Brownfields 2011 – April 4th at 1pm.

Tracing the Evolution of the Phrase “Continuing Obligations”

A new “CERCLA Continuing Obligations” discussion group recently began in Linkedin – actually its a subgroup within the “Environmental Issues in Business Transactions” discussion group that Larry Schnapf manages.  Given this, it seemed right to quickly review how the phrase “continuing obligations” came into being and where its heading. It started with CERCLA’s Brownfield Amendments. […]