Kaplan Kirsch & Rockwell is well known for work on complex environmental compliance and cleanup projects. Our lawyers routinely represent clients with respect to their rights and responsibilities under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA), Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA), and other federal and state statutory schemes for the cleanup of contaminated sites and contribution claims for remediation costs. We represent private parties, as well as cities, counties and other public jurisdictions in: negotiating and implementing administrative orders, voluntary cleanup plans and consent orders; responding to compliance orders; and in acting on notices of violation.
- Represented a large California municipal water provider in negotiating and implementing remedial measures and settling cost recovery claims to restore beneficial uses of groundwater at, and upgradient of, numerous water supply wellfields impacted or threatened by numerous plumes of emerging and other contaminants.
- Represented two California water boards in connection with the Leviathan Mine Superfund Site – an inactive sulphur mine discharging acid mine drainage and other mine waste into surface water and groundwater. One of our attorneys represented these and other state agencies in complex litigation concerning liability for past and future site costs. After prevailing on key motions, the case was successfully settled on the third day of a scheduled five-week jury trial. Represented a county in California on remediation of groundwater perchlorate plumes emanating from and near a large municipal landfill following more than ten years of multiparty complex litigation in federal Court concerning the Rocket, Flares, and Fireworks Superfund Site and other nearby sources.
- Represented a developer of a 1,000+-acre commercial mixed-use development in Colorado responding to an asserted stormwater notice of violation and developing a comprehensive stormwater permitting and compliance strategy for ongoing site development.
- Represented a Colorado developer in amending an early 1990s consent agreement with the state department of public health and environment, as well as negotiating a cleanup approach, to allow high-rise mixed-use redevelopment on a 60-acre riverfront parcel in central Denver. Our representation included reaching a settlement agreement with a principal responsible party for cost contribution. Represented a municipal county airport in California in responding to a state cleanup and abatement order, implementing a response action to address a large plume of 1,2,3-TCP and other contaminants consistent with the national contingency plan (NCP) and pursuing cost recovery.
- Represented airports across the country in developing strategies for mitigating potential PFAS liability exposure, including measures to address current and future releases to the environment.
- We represented a recycling company in responding to a CERCLA 104(e) information request and associated negotiations related to former operations on a mining site in the Clear Creek Superfund Site.
- Represented a town in Colorado in negotiating and implementing remedial measures and funding for the same as part of a Voluntary Cleanup Program to address elevated concentrations of lead in soil due to historic mining activity.
- Represented a Utah municipality in negotiation of a settlement agreement and administrative order on consent with the EPA to conduct an engineering evaluation/cost analysis and removal action to address historical mining impacts.
- Represented a nonprofit corporation that owns a contaminated parcel of property near Denver, Colorado, and that has undertaken a more than 20-year effort to remediate site conditions associated with the land’s former use as a mining experimental facility and to implement a redevelopment strategy. We have assisted this client in issues under CERCLA, Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), radioactive materials licensing, the state Voluntary Cleanup Act, the Clean Water Act, and other authorities.
- Represented the master developer of a portion of a former military gunnery range in negotiating a consent agreement with the state health department and developing an insurance program and cost recovery approach to address potential ordinance contamination encountered during a phased development process.
- Represented an environmental consulting firm in negotiating a fixed-price remediation agreement, an associated cost cap and a pollution legal liability policy for remediation and redevelopment of a former defense manufacturing site under a RCRA order.
- Assisted a nonprofit corporation in negotiating a consent order for the closure of a construction and demolition landfill and purchasing the site to protect views from an historic property.
- Represented a recycling company in responding to a 104(e) information request and associated negotiations under CERCLA related to former operations on a mining site listed on the National Priorities List. No enforcement action was taken.
- Assisted a public entity in a complex transaction involving the conveyance of a municipal landfill site from the federal government, as well as negotiation and implementation of a state-supervised voluntary cleanup and redevelopment before the adoption of a state voluntary cleanup program. Issues included identification of CERCLA-compliant cleanup standards for closure and waste management and evaluation of remediation alternatives.
- Advised a state attorney general’s office and regulatory agency regarding cost recovery for post closure costs at four permitted RCRA hazardous waste facilities, following bankruptcy of the landfill operator.
- Regional Water Quality Control Board: One of our lawyers represented the owner of a legacy bulk chemical liquid storage facility regarding compliance with a Regional Water Quality Control Board cleanup order for investigation and remediation of soil, groundwater and marine sediment contamination. The work also included negotiation of a lease buyout and liability transfer to a port in southern California for redevelopment of the site as a park and walking trails.
- We assisted a Private Responsible Party (PRP) in implementation of a comprehensive package of zoning, development guidelines and public amenities intended to contribute to a more cost-effective remediation of a large Superfund site. Our representation also included the preparation of extensive public comments, analyses of “applicable or relevant and appropriate” cleanup requirements and “shadow” assessments designed to facilitate the remedy selection process and craft an administrative record supporting the client’s preferred remedy if a challenge became necessary.
- We also assist clients with regulatory compliance and cleanup in the context of some of the largest and most complex site redevelopment projects as part of our Brownfields practice and across our practice areas, including airports, highways, transit and energy projects. As part of these projects, we routinely represent clients in negotiating “bona fide prospective purchaser” settlement agreements and administrative orders on consent with EPA to facilitate redevelopment, including orders that would allow cleanup and redevelopment of portions of the Eagle Mine, Sand Creek Industrial and the Lincoln Park Superfund Sites in Colorado. At the state level, we represent clients in negotiating various orders and voluntary cleanup agreements. See Brownfields for other project examples.
Resources and News
States Continue to Dominate PFAS Regulation, Despite Some Federal EffortsNews | December 19, 2019
Central 70 Project Reaches Commercial CloseNews | December 4, 2017
Kaplan Kirsch & Rockwell Attorneys Present at AAAE PFAS WorkshopPresentations | April 6, 2021
Sara Mogharabi Presents Webinar on PFAS for Environmental Law NetworkPresentations | November 3, 2020
Polly Jessen Presents Webinar on Mitigating Environmental Liability from Construction Debris and Contaminated SoilPresentations | February 12, 2019
What Municipalities Need to Know About PFAs in Drinking WaterPublications | July 6, 2018