Farming Community Suffers Significant Injuries from Soil Contamination

Environmental Expert WitnessThis environmental health case involves a large agriculture community in the Wyoming that was discovered to have soil that was severely contaminated with heavy metals and other industrial contaminants. The contamination was believed to have come from a large mining operation located upriver from the contaminated land, which had been in operation for more than 100 years. As a result of this contamination, residents of the farming community suffered from a number of neurological defects and cancers. Additionally, the farming community had long relied on an extensive beekeeping project that was crippled by the environmental contamination, killing off numerous valuable hives. Eventually, it was determined that the companies responsible for the continued contamination were to pay to assist in a remediation project, however the efficacy of the remediation as well as the economic and social impact it would have on the affected communities was in doubt. It was alleged that several national agencies responsible for environmental health and safety failed in their duty to prevent the contamination from continuing unabated for so long.

Question(s) For Expert Witness

  • 1. Please briefly describe your familiarity with cleanup and remediation projects.
  • 2. Have you ever been employed on such projects, or consulted directly with them on such projects?

Expert Witness Response E-073268

I spent nearly 40 years working for the a major environmental agency, where I rose to become a director of their remediation efforts on a regional level. I am very familiar with remediation procedures and best practices. Lead and arsenic, as well as other heavy metals, have to be managed as hazardous waste and must be disposed of appropriately; there are various statutes and pieces of legislation that may apply depending on the location. I was in charge of remedial product managers dealing with hazardous waste site cleanups. I did not conduct the excavations myself, but I supervised scientists and engineers who did. I would be able to determine the responsibilities for the remediation parties going forward, as well as the extent to which the contamination should / could have been prevented.

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