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DEP Identifies PFAS Source: What It Means for Property Owners

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November 15, 2019
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Commercial and industrial property owners now have been put on notice by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection when it comes to PFAS contamination.

The DEP recently identified a retread tire company as the source of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substance (PFAS) contamination for the Ridge Run PFAS site in Bucks County. Historical records indicate the tire company was the location of a tire fire in 1986 that was extinguished with firefighting foam, a known source of PFAS. The property’s owner is now considered a potentially responsible entity liable for cleanup costs at the Ridge Run site.

PFAS are a ubiquitous class of chemicals that were commonly used in surface coatings of paper and cardboard packaging, carpets, non-stick pans, textiles and firefighting foams. Several classes of PFAS are suspected of causing a wide variety of health problems. PFAS are highly mobile and persistent in the environment.

Owners of properties contaminated with PFAS face potential liability not only for the remediation of contamination on their property, but also for addressing PFAS contamination that may have migrated to neighboring properties. As the DEP continues its PFAS investigations, it is likely that potential buyers of properties will demand enhanced environmental due diligence before any purchase of a property with a potential PFAS contamination.

In addition to current property owners, those considering the purchase of commercial and industrial properties should work closely with their environmental consultants and attorneys to be fully aware of potential liabilities associated with a property.

If you have questions about PFAS contamination and how it may impact your property or properties you are considering acquiring or currently own, please contact me or any member of the firm’s Environment & Energy Industry Group.


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