Dioxin Developments

January 27, 2016 | Commercial Litigation | Complex Torts & Product Liability

Montana Proposes to List Blackfoot Post Yard on State’s Cleanup List

The Montana Department of Environmental Quality (“DEQ”) has given notice of its intent to list the Blackfoot Post Yard near Lincoln, Montana, on the state’s Comprehensive Environmental Cleanup and Responsibility Act (“CECRA”) priority list.


The Blackfoot Post Yard is near the east end of the Lincoln airport, approximately 1.5 miles east of Lincoln, Lewis, and Clark County, Montana, on the south side of Highway 200.

The DEQ’s Findings

The DEQ said that it has determined there was a confirmed release of “hazardous or deleterious substances that may pose an imminent and substantial threat to public health, safety, or welfare or the environment.” Specifically, pentachlorophenol has been detected in groundwater at concentrations up to 200 micrograms per liter, which exceeds the Montana water quality standard of 1 microgram per liter, the DEQ said.

The DEQ added that pentachlorophenol also has been detected in surface soils at concentrations up to 4,500 milligrams per kilogram, which, the DEQ noted, exceeded the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”) regional screening level for residential soils (November 2013) of 0.89 milligrams per kilogram.

According to the DEQ, dioxins/furans have been detected in groundwater at concentrations up to 2,000 picograms per liter, which exceeded the Montana water quality standard of 2 picograms per liter. In addition, the DEQ continued, dioxins/furans had been detected in surface soils at concentrations up to 49,000 nanograms per kilogram, which exceeded the EPA regional screening level for residential soils (November 2013) of 4.5 nanograms per kilogram.

According to the DEQ, these contaminant concentrations “may pose an imminent and substantial endangerment” as defined in Administrative Rule of Montana 17.55.102. It stated that residential-based soil screening levels were used because there were homes at the site; there also were domestic wells in use at the site.

Therefore, the DEQ said, it is proposing that the Blackfoot Post Yard be included on the CECRA priority list.

Comment Period

The public comment period on the DEQ proposal began on January 4, 2016 and is scheduled to end on 11:59 p.m. MST on February 2, 2016.

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EPA Working on Proposal to Clean Up Segment 3 of the Tittabawassee River

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”) continues to work on a plan to clean up Segment 3 of the Tittabawassee River in Michigan.


Segment 3 of the Tittabawassee River is a four-mile stretch of river that starts about seven miles below where the Chippewa River meets the Tittabawassee River. It is part of the Tittabawassee River floodplain.

The EPA’s Proposed Plan

The EPA’s cleanup plan is expected to be released in February, according to the Midland Daily News, which spoke with Mary Logan, EPA remedial project manager for the Tittabawassee River, Saginaw River, and Bay Superfund program.

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San Jacinto River Coalition Says Toxins Were Found in Groundwater

The San Jacinto River Coalition has said that samples of groundwater at two sites tested positive for dioxin and PCBs.

The Coalition’s Claims

The coalition’s director was quoted by the Baytown Sun paper as saying, “There were several PCBs that were found in the groundwater. There are chemicals that were in the waste pits that derived as a byproduct of the chlorination process. So we did find some PCBs, I will tell you out of the few hundred we tested for, we didn’t find most of them. So that’s good.”

The director also was quoted as saying, “As far as the heavy metals go, we did not, again, find most of the metals we tested for. We did find some metals and we’re still investigating that because the metals we did find might be from infrastructure, they might be from the plumbing in the household or the wells.”

In addition, the director was quoted as saying, “HCDD, or Hexachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin, was found. So it’s at 2.61 and the estimated detection limit is 0.36…. It’s a low concentration but it is present and dioxin is not a naturally occurring compound, it’s man made. So it’s not in this water because it’s natural in the environment.”

Learn more:

“Texas Panel Recommends Against San Jacinto River Cancer Cluster Studies,”at http://www.rivkinradler.com/assets/pubs/downloads/DioxinforSocialMedia-October2015.pdf;

“Texas Health Department Report on Cancer Occurrence in East Harris County: An Expert Analysis,” at http://www.rivkinradler.com/publications/from-the-experts/;

“Texas Governor Greg Abbott Signs Bill that Limits Pollution Lawsuits,” at http://www.rivkinradler.com/publications/dioxin-developments-2/;

“Texas County Appeals in San Jacinto River Case,” at http://www.rivkinradler.com/publications/in-the-courts/.

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