Weekly News Bulletin: Nov. 1-7, 2001


Washington State Increases Recycling Rate to 35 Percent

Washington businesses and residents improved their recycling habits in 2000, raising the statewide recycling rate to 35 percent, up from 32 percent the year before, according to data collected by the state Department of Ecology. In 1989, the Waste Not Washington Act established a 50 percent recycling goal for the state. The highest level achieved so far was 40 percent in 1995. By contrast, the national average is 28 percent. Market improvements for various commodities, such as metals, newspaper and container glass, as well as improved commercial-collection programs have contributed to the rate's rise, according to Ecology officials...Read More »



EPA to Tighten Limit on Arsenic in Drinking Water

The Bush administration plans to reinstate a Clinton-era plan to sharply restrict the amount of arsenic allowed in drinking water to help reduce the risk of cancer, heart disease and diabetes. The Environmental Protection Agency was widely criticized in March when it suspended a regulation written by the Clinton administration that would slash the amount of arsenic in tap water to 10 parts per billion. The incoming administration said it wanted another study of the health risks before adopting a rule that would be costly to many businesses and small communities. The EPA will reinstate the 10 ppb limit on arsenic, replacing the 50 ppb standard in effect for decades. No other developed nation allows 50 ppb of arsenic in its drinking water...Read More »



N.h. Releases State of The Environment Report

The New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services has published a state-of-the-environment report designed to provide a valuable overview of the wide-ranging environmental challenges currently facing New Hampshire. It also reviews the variety of DES programs established to address these issues. Entitled New Hampshire Environment 2000, the publication includes analyses of air, water, and waste management data gathered through the end of last year...Read More »



Foster Wheeler Enters Joint Venture for Italian Incinerators

The European Commission has approved plans by two units of the Italian Merloni group and an Italian unit of engineering giant Foster Wheeler (NYSE:FWC) to create three joint ventures to build, operate and manage power stations and incinerator plants. The deal was approved under the commission's simplified procedure, under which uncontroversial mergers are cleared automatically after one month if no entity raises competition concerns...Read More »



Tetra Tech Provides Bioterrorism Response Assistance to Federal Government

Tetra Tech, Inc. (Nasdaq: TTEK) has been awarded two new contracts and over 50 task orders in support of the national response to bioterrorism. New contracts have been awarded with the General Services Administration and Department of Labor. The new work has been issued under Tetra Tech's existing contracts with the GSA, EPA Technology Innovation Office, and the EPA Superfund Technical Assessment and Response Team program, under which Tetra Tech has contracts in 8 of 10 EPA regions. The approximate value of bioterrorism response work awarded in recent weeks is $11 million. All contracts being used are indefinite delivery / indefinite quantity contracts designed with the flexibility to address potential growth in scope or duration. Tetra Tech is providing a broad range of services to the Federal government, including biochemical sampling and decontamination, vulnerability analysis, terrorism response training, and security improvements...Read More »



Apyron Advocates Point-of-use Solutions to Meet Arsenic Standards

Point- of-Use solutions are the most affordable and effective way for water systems nationwide to meet compliance with the EPA's new arsenic standards, according to Apyron Technologies, a developer of advanced materials. Almost 97 percent of the water systems affected by the new standard are small systems that serve less than 10,000 people each. Recently, the National Drinking Water Advisory Council completed an EPA-commissioned cost analysis that stated that POU applications -- filtration devices attached under a household's sink to treat the water that comes from the faucet -- should be given greater consideration as a method of tackling arsenic contamination. The council's cost evaluations show that communities as large as 10,000 can benefit financially from this approach. According to the 2001 National Consumer Water Quality Survey, 9 out of 10 Americans have concerns about the quality of their tap water, and 65% of respondents indicate that they would pay for a home water treatment deviceto reduce arsenic if it were present in their drinking water...Read More »



Pennsylvania Supreme Court Rules in Favor of Insurers in Cleanup Suit

The Supreme Court of Pennsylvania has affirmed an intermediate appellate court decision in favor of London Market Insurers and the Home Insurance Company, stating that under Pennsylvania law, an insurer may void an insurance policy when an insured company secures the policy through fraudulent misrepresentations. Rohm and Haas originally filed suit against its insurers in the Court of Common Pleas for Philadelphia County, seeking coverage for the cleanup costs of two sites, including its Whitmoyer Laboratories site. Costs for the Whitmoyer Laboratories site were estimated to exceed $90 million. The jury ruled in favor of the insurers as to both sites. The Court found that shortly after acquiring Whitmoyer Laboratories in 1964, Rohm and Haas discovered considerable arsenic pollution of the soil and the groundwater, but did not disclose the problem to its excess insurers for almost 24 years...Read More »



Appeals Court Strikes Down Large Wepco Verdict

The Wisconsin Court of Appeals has thrown out a landmark $100 million punitive damages award that Wisconsin Electric Power Co. had been ordered to pay for dumping wood chips loaded with cyanide in West Allis. A new trial has been ordered to determine a new amount in the case that had the potential to redefine the limits of punitive damages in Wisconsin. The 1st District Court of Appeals panel in Milwaukee made the decision because the damages award failed to meet Wisconsin's five-sixths law, which requires that five of six jurors in a civil trial agree on all questions essential to a verdict. In this case, the Court of Appeals determined that only 11 of 14 jurors--not the necessary 12--had voted for the $100 million award. The $4.5 million compensatory award remains intact. A Milwaukee County Circuit Court jury in July 1999 had decided that Wisconsin Electric for years had knowingly dumped wood chips laced with cyanide at lots in West Allis that were owned by the City of West Allis and Giddings & Lewis Corp. in Fond du Lac. The jury ordered the utility to pay the city and the company a total of $4.5 million in compensatory damages and $100 million in punitive damages...Read More »


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