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The Enviant environmental claims department has dedicated claims specialists to handle all claims under our various policies, with one point of contact for claims information and claims handling. Enviant also offers value-added services, enabling our policyholders to access loss mitigation tools and resources.
Environmental Emergency Response
24/7 Emergency Response Service hotline with environmental consultants and engineers ready to provide assistance in the event of an environmental emergency.
Access to a nationwide network of clean-up contractors, consultants, and engineers to respond to and assist in the emergency by containing, stabilizing, and remediating sites.
The insured is a well-known regional energy efficiency contractor that provides energy audits and corrective measure contracting. During an energy efficiency upgrade and home expansion project, a new high efficiency oil furnace is installed by a subcontractor to handle the expanded heating demands. The homeowner is advised that the existing AST is in poor condition and that the entire storage and piping system should be checked. The homeowner requests the installation of a new above-ground storage tank only, and the subcontractor completes the installation and connection to the existing supply line. Unbeknownst to the heating subcontractor, the supply line is still connected to an old underground home heating oil tank. After several months, the homeowner reports excessive home heating oil consumption and the newly installed furnace and AST are checked and re-checked. No problems or issues are found, and the home heating oil supplier keeps delivering and filling the AST. A few months later, a local EPA inspector notices an oil sheen in a gully next to the roadway and investigates. It is discovered that the oil from the AST was not only supplying the furnace but also a leaking UST. The home was purchased out of foreclosure and the prior owner had not used the UST in years. The years of disuse had caused condensation and, ultimately, failure to the UST. The subcontractor only carried CGL coverage and did not have contractors pollution coverage. The clean-up cost in excess of $300,000 and the homeowners’ carrier subrogated against the insured, its subcontractor, and the oil supply company. Litigation dragged on for several years with hundreds of thousands spent in legal defense costs. After a thorough investigation and a vigorous defense, the claimant discontinued the litigation.
The insured is a national gas station equipment maintenance and servicing company that, among other things, removes and installs USTs and associated piping and leak detection equipment, along with installing, maintaining, and repairing fuel dispensers. The insured is called in to correct a pressure issue on the piing system between the USTs and fuel dispensers. The insured technician diagnoses an issue with the Veeder-Root leak detection system and replaces a valve. A few weeks later, the customer calls and advises that it has a fuel shortfall. The insured investigates and finds no leaks or issues and cannot identify any problems. After continued shortages, the customer sends in its own team to investigate and the team advises the insured that a coupling nut on the Veeder-Root leak detection system was loose, and that several thousand gallons of gasoline had leaked into the sump and adjacent soil and ground water. The local regulators direct that clean-up commence immediately and that a pump and treat system be installed. The customer alleges that the leak was caused by the technician failing to properly tighten the valve coupling, and that the insured is responsible for all the remediation costs. The customer is uncooperative in providing documentation, including any objective evidence to show that the valve coupling was the cause of the release. The customer files a suit seeking reimbursement of all remediation costs. The carrier responds and investigates, by obtaining complete records, including historical records and retaining experts to determine the origin and cause. The investigation reveals pre-existing contamination of the site and an antiquated and poorly managed fuel storage and dispensing system. The valve and coupling were removed and discarded prior to notification to the insured. After mounting a vigorous defense, the matter is resolved for a nominal amount.
The insured is a regional chemical blending and chemical manufacturing company. After small-volume testing a new chemical blend “recipe,” the insured commences bulk blend production. During the blending operation, the chemical blend begins to overheat and combust, releasing flammable gases (a calculation error underestimated the exponential heat increase with volume increase). Efforts to cool the blending vessel were unsuccessful, and the insured attempted to move the vessel with an overhead crane to a different area in the facility to isolate the vessel, permit controlled venting, scrub the released gases, and position it away from stored flammable products. During the lift, a short in the overhead electric crane ignited the released gases causing a flash fire that soon engulfed the entire warehouse. The local fire department responded by pouring millions of gallons of water on the fire. The warehouse contained thousands of gallons of completed products, including polymers (that float on water). The water runoff ran into an adjacent storm water culvert, which drained to a stream and two ponds of an adjacent landowner, as well as a significant portion of the insured’s property. Upon notification, the carrier mobilized emergency response contractors who began containing the fire water runoff and conducted air monitoring (a local community college was located downwind of the insured facility). Air monitoring revealed no human health concerns and the fire was controlled to burn itself out. Once extinguished, the contractors began remediating the ground on the site to eliminate and contain any further runoff and began cleaning the streams and ponds. With drought-breaking rain storms approaching, the contractors built berms around the insured facility, diverted runoff to a newly constructed lined retention pond, and set up a battery of frac tanks to handle contaminated water processing and disposal. The proactive measures mitigated further offsite contamination and contained the contamination onsite. This enabled an orderly demolition and debris removal operation, followed by a complete site remediation without further off-site contamination. Thousands of tons of contaminated soil was excavated and disposed of and the stream and ponds were excavated and restored. The clean-up costs were several million dollars, but proactive action mitigated the extent of the damages significantly and was viewed favorably by the local regulators which assisted with permitting during the rebuild.
The insured manufactures animal feed using recycled vegetable oil. During maintenance work, an employee ignites insulation, which ignites dust in the tower where the work is being performed. This caused a flash fire that soon engulfed the entire facility, including the thousands of gallons of vegetable oil stored onsite. The local fire department responded and began pouring water onto the building. The carrier is notified immediately and its emergency response and crisis response team is activated. Air monitoring confirms that the smoke plume is benign and the previously ordered shelter in place is lifted. The insured CEO, with guidance from the crisis management teams, goes on local television together with the fire chief to explain what occurred and that there is no health concern. The emergency response team discussed options with the fire chief, who backs down the fire water to a control situation as runoff into storm water drains could impact nearby rivers. The storm water drains are capped off and the contaminated water is pumped and disposed of. After two days, the fire is extinguished with foam and contained to the basement area of the facility where the oil is stored. The local POTW refuses to permit the contaminated fire water to be discharged to the sewer system, so an onsite processing system is put together using the insured’s onsite waste water treatment plant. The water is processed on site and transported to another POTW that has the capacity to handle the volume. As the contaminated water was contained to the basement, processing and disposal could be done over time without the potential for further contamination and permitting the insured to commence demolition and debris removal on other buildings. The remediation was completed in a month.
The insured is a national plastic crate manufacture. Using torches, employees are tasked with cleaning excess plastic off crates in the outside storage area. During a lunch break, a rag ignites on a hot crate on which work had just been completed. This eventually ignited surrounding crates and, shortly thereafter, the entire stack of thousands of plastic crates is burning, creating a massive smoke plume that travelled over highways and an adjacent residential neighborhood, depositing particulate matter. One of the largest soda bottling companies is located adjacent to the insured’s facility and is forced to shut down operations to avoid contamination during the highly automated and sterilized bottling process. Significant fire water contaminated with burned plastic is released offsite to several storm water drains. Claims were made for bodily injury and property damage to adjacent homeowners and motorists traveling on the nearby highway. The local air regulators threatened fines, the storm water system had to be flushed and decontaminated, soil at the insured’s facility had to be remediated, and the bottling company brought claims for business interruption and cleaning costs to their air scrubber system.
The insured is a large metal recycler with numerous scrap metal recycling yards. While loading metal from a pile onto a conveyor with a grapple, an employee punctures a drum containing a minimal quantity of a hazardous chemical. The chemical leaks and comes into contact with the air and moisture from rain and creates a toxic plume that spreads over the yard and across the street to neighboring businesses, requiring evacuations. Claims are brought by the adjacent business for business interruption, employees of the adjacent businesses and invitees at the insured location bring bodily injury and property damage claims for damage to their vehicles, and the regulators issue a directive for a clean-up of the area contaminated by the liquid. During the excavation of the soil, additional contamination is found, resulting in a larger site investigation and subsequent remediation.
The insured is a dry cleaner that leases a suite in an industrial complex from the property owner. The insured’s lease ends and the insured vacates the premises. The property owner performs an indoor sample and discovers high levels of PCE. Further investigation reveals high levels of contamination in the water below the premises leased by the insured, as well as in the underground water. The property owner is directed to clean up and is seeking reimbursement from the insured alleging that the drycleaning operation and improper handling of PCE caused the contamination. The insured vigorously denies that it caused the contamination and provides complete and detailed purchase and disposal records. The insured was no longer in business, and did not have the finances to mount a defense but had significant attachable assets. The carrier conducted an investigation, retained appropriate experts, and entered into discussions with the regulators. Upon further investigation and analysis, it was determined that large amounts of PCE were disposed in the planter box near the backdoor of a defunct printing operation that used extensive amounts of chemicals in its operations but failed to properly register with the local regulatory authority. It was determined that, based upon an isotope analysis, the contamination under the premises leased by the insured was caused by the PCE disposed in the planter box, migrating to the high water table, and then migrating under the premises where the dry cleaning operation was located before finally being released into the premises operated by the insured.
The insured is a landfill lining fabricator and installer. While fabricating metal framework at the insured warehouse, an employee uses a chop saw to cut metal pipes. Sparks from the cutting ignite adjacent grass, which, due to drought conditions, causes the fire to spread quickly and engulf the insured’s warehouse. Several propane tanks located on the outside of the warehouse explode. One tank projects flaming shrapnel over 500 feet onto an adjacent agribusiness. The agribusiness buys and sells hay and stores hundreds of thousands bales of hay on its premises. The flaming shrapnel lands on a haystack and ignites the entire stack. Several stacks are destroyed by fire, and most of the remaining hay is rendered damaged due to smoke from the warehouse fire on the insured’s premises. Local highways are shut down and several motorists bring claims for smoke inhalation and property damage to their vehicles. The agribusiness insurer subrogates is property damages paid to the agribusiness and the agribusiness seeks recovery of uncovered/uninsured damages.
The insured is a large reputable commercial construction contractor. During the expansion of an air traffic control tower at a large regional airport, insured employees used a propane powered generator to power equipment in the newly constructed area. The employees set up the generator venting to the outside of the building, but did not realize that the generator exhaust was directly opposite an air intake for and HVAC system, resulting in fumes being circulated throughout the control tower, causing bodily injury to several air traffic controllers and resulting in a temporary shutdown of the airport. The air traffic controllers were employed by a subcontractor to the airport operator. The air traffic controllers sued the airport operator and the contractor. The insured contractor was obligated by contract to defend and indemnify the airport operator. The air traffic controllers alleged long-term neurological deficits that precluded them from returning to work as air traffic controllers.
The insured is a large regional HVAC contractor that contracted with a chain of movie theatres to install the air conditioning systems. The movie theatre provided the architectural and engineering specifications. Sometime after the completion of the project and after the theaters opened for business, the movie theatre company complained of mold and mildew in several theatres and improper humidity levels and sought emergency remediation and business interruption costs during the down time. Upon investigation if was determined that a humidistat had been incorrectly wired, causing improper balancing and improper humidity control within the theatres. The insured’s records indicated a correct installation and testing prior to the project completion. The movie theatre filed suit. During discovery it was determined that the movie theatre had retained another HVAC company to maintain the HVAC system and the maintenance contractor work coincided with the mold outbreak. After completion of discovery, dispositive motions were filed and the claims were dismissed against the insured.
The insured is a local contractor that contracted with a national electrical utility to control the vegetation on local electrical transmission line rights of way. A strong herbicide was applied using a truck-mounted sprayer, but winds blew the herbicide onto adjacent crop fields, severely damaging portions of the crop. The farmer brings a claim seeking damages.
The insured is a large regional vinyl window manufacturer. While unloading windows at a new housing development, a hydraulic hose separated on the truck-mounted loading arm and releases hydraulic fluid onto a newly installed paved patio. Another subcontractor attempted to wash off the pavers and released contaminated water down a storm water drain. The local environmental regulators direct that the storm sewer be capped, flushed, and cleaned. The property developer submits a claim for the discolored paving stones and excavation of the soil beneath the pavers.
The insured is a national pallet manufacturer, which has been operating at the site for over 30 years. During excavation for a new concrete pad for an outdoor storage area for pallet refurbishing, heavy oil staining and odor is found in the excavated soil. It is determined that the facility was used to manufacture rope and cable over 50 years ago and that waste oil was discarded in clay lined pits before being covered over with soil. The regulators direct remediation of the entire effected area. The rope and cable manufacturer only operated for a short period of time and was not listed on the phase 1 when the insured purchased the property.
A local HVAC contractor is hired by the school district to clean the air ducts in a local school during summer recess. Mold is found in the duct work, requiring the application of a biocide. A teacher with asthma and chemical sensitivities returns to work the week prior to the school year commencing. She alleges that the biocide caused respiratory issues and an allergic reaction, preventing her from returning to the school for the start of the school year. She alleges that, as a result of the exposure, she will never be able to work as a school teacher and seeks significant future lost earnings and benefits.
The insured is a national environmental consulting firm. The firm also performs system integrity testing for gas stations to confirm that the tanks and lines are secure. After a gas station undergoes renovation under new ownership, the insured is hired to test the USTs and lines and finds no issues. A few weeks later, the tanks are filled and a contractor is hired to connect the dispenser units and bring the system online. The contractor is unable to get the system to work, and an investigation commences. It is discovered that the lines from the tank to the dispenser units are severed and that significant quantities of gasoline have been released. The property owner alleges that the insured failed to or improperly conducted the tank tightness/line integrity test and therefore caused the release. The property owner demands that the insured pay for the remediation, including active ground water remediation. The employee who performed the testing has long since left the company and documentation is sparse.
The insured is a leading chemical manufacturer. After a maintenance turnaround, the cracker units are brought back online. A loose flange causes gases to escape, which results in a flash fire and rupture of the feeder pipe, causing the release of gases. The plume spreads for several miles and almost 10,000 residents allege bodily injury. The claims are filed by several firms all seeking damages below the threshold required for a jury trial. The court rules that the plaintiffs do not have to show specific causation, and that they have met their burden by showing that the alleged injuries could have been caused by the release. The plaintiffs demand $50,000 each and the trial commences with 12 groups of plaintiffs.
The insured is a local tank cleaning contractor hired by a multinational refiner to clean sludge from chemical tanks. During the cleaning, an insured employee opened an incorrect valve, causing a release of hydrogen sulfide gas. Eight employees of a contractor who was retained to perform routine maintenance at a refinery onsite were severely injured, and two died as a result of the exposure. Bodily injury claims are brought against the refinery and the insured. The refinery is an additional insured under the insured’s policy and tenders the defense.
The insured is a large fertilizer distributor. Employees performing welding work on metal storage bin walls cause a bin of fertilizer to begin to smolder. Attempts by employees to douse the fire are unsuccessful and a full fire commences, spreading through the storage warehouse. The facility also stores ammonium nitrate. The local fire department responds, and upon learning of the ammonium nitrate stored onsite immediately, withdraws all firefighting personnel and equipment, creates a two-mile radius perimeter, and orders the evacuation of the town. Close to 50,000 people evacuate and numerous large processing plants shut down. The evacuation order is lifted eight hours later. Thousands of inconvenience, bodily injury, and property damage claims are brought. The fire burns out and there is no direct fire damage beyond the perimeter of the insured’s warehouse.