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Waste Cleanup

Waste Cleanup

We Put Superfund Claims Out of Their Misery

Few environmental laws are as reviled as the Superfund, and the reason is simple. The law aims to capture as many parties as possible, and those parties then often spend more time and money negotiating among themselves and with their insurers than conducting a cleanup. We think there is a better way. Our Superfund practice starts with the premise that our clients should only pay their reasonably allocated share of cleanup costs. We work to make sure that the costs of cleanup are reasonably borne, and work with consultants, other parties, and state and federal agencies to meet cleanup standards as efficiently as we possibly can.

We have a deep bench of expertise in this area, having resolved literally hundreds of claims at sites in more than 20 states. Our clients are in industries as varied as mining, manufacturing, aviation, smelting, waste management, food processing, pulp and paper, chemical manufacturing, real estate, and finance.

Our lawyers have earned a national reputation, having worked on some of the largest and most complex contaminated sites in the country, including:

  • Landfills (municipal and hazardous waste);
  • Manufacturing plants (refineries, manufactured gas plants, airports, smelters, railroads and rail yards, pole yards, log yards, pulp and paper plants, fertilizer plants, and chemical distribution facilities);
  • Urban bays (on all three coasts, and the Great Lakes)

We have both prosecuted and defended scores of environmental insurance claims. We have resolved claims in bankruptcy (including the largest environmental bankruptcy in history), defended and prosecuted contribution actions, negotiated scores of administrative orders and consent decrees, obtained no further action letters, responded to dozens of information requests, negotiated access agreements, worked with most of the major national environmental consulting companies, negotiated indemnities, sales and acquisitions of contaminated land, obtained de minimis settlements, ability to pay settlements, prospective purchaser decrees, and gained a level of experience over many years that allows us to put these types of environmental problems to bed.

Experience

  • 104(e) Responses
  • Arbitration
  • Brownfields Redevelopment
  • Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA)/Superfund
  • Cost Recovery/Contribution Actions
  • Insurance Litigation
  • Model Toxics Control Act (MTCA)
  • Negotiations
  • Oil Spills
  • Superfund Cleanups
  • UST Releases

Representative Client Work

Defended a mining and smelting company in the first evidentiary estimation hearing in connection with the largest environmental bankruptcy case in United States history. The hearing, at the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in the Southern District of Texas, involved a $406 million claim for response costs brought by the United States Environmental Protection Agency and the State of Nebraska.
We were able to mobilize for trial within four months, dealing with the testimony of over 20 experts. The case settled and we successfully defended the settlement. The bankruptcy court found, due to “testimonial and documentary evidence and its independent review,” that the settlement agreements were reasonable, fair and equitable, and consistent with CERCLA and bankruptcy law. Shortly after the settlement, the client was acquired by a company in Mexico.
Represented a manufacturing client in the voluntary remediation of a lead refinery located in downtown Omaha, Nebraska and the redevelopment of the site into a city park.
Directed technical team in negotiation of work plan with the Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality and negotiated controversial transfer agreement with Mayor and City Council of Omaha.
Representing a fertilizer manufacturing plant with resolution of claims by federal and state agencies arising from both current operating and historic disposal practices
To date, the company has succeeded in negotiating and constructing a groundwater remedy and source control at its plant site and is conducting cleanups at its phosphate mines, all without litigation. This cooperative effort has been coordinated with EPA, the State, and the Tribes.
Represented a water utility in a CERCLA and MTCA cost recovery and contribution action to recover millions of dollars in remediation costs for a drinking water well field that was contaminated by an adjacent former military base, now a federal Superfund site.
The firm prosecuted claims against the military and its defense contractors, helped obtain insurance coverage to pay for cleanup costs, and secured an unprecedented court order that allowed the client and other local governments to help structure the cleanup.
Represented 54 “de minimis” parties in negotiations with EPA and with a group of “work” defendants at a $1 billion landfill cleanup near Los Angeles.
Through formation of a well-functioning Steering Committee, coupled with cash-out negotiations with EPA, succeeded in resolving the government’s CERCLA claims against all but eight of the parties we represented.
Representing one of the largest cities in New Mexico in a $30 million groundwater contamination cleanup at a Superfund Site on the National Priorities List, including regulatory negotiations, investigation of potentially responsible parties, and negotiation of allocation issues. The case involved presentation of a contribution claim against the New Mexico National Guard, which operated an armory which released solvents that contaminated the drinking water source of a town of 70,000.
Negotiated an ability to pay settlement on behalf on our client, and are working with EPA and the Justice Department lawyers to identify additional parties to fund the cleanup.
Represented former smelter in the cleanup of 141-acre industrial site in Salt Lake Valley, Utah under federal Superfund law and it redevelopment into mixed-use commercial project.
Negotiated preferred alternative through 18-month mediation process involving EPA, State of Utah, multiple landowners, local municipality, and proposed site developer.
Serving as lead defense counsel in federal district court and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit for the former operator of a Missouri Superfund Site in actions against the U.S. EPA and other private parties for costs recovery and contribution under CERCLA. This complex case involved five separate lawsuits, including several environmental and cost recovery claims, insurance coverage litigation, and probate proceedings.
Successfully reached tentative agreements with EPA and private party to enter consent decree and reach settlement resulting in ability to pay settlement and ultimate closure of estate and probate. Resolution expected in transfer of property to local government for redevelopment.
Represented a Washington manufacturing company in a case involving an urban waterway with multiple PRPs and PCB-contaminated sediments. Our team worked with both state and federal agencies to develop a dredging and capping remedy, and with the Natural Resource Trustees to develop a restoration plan funded by several dozen PRPs.
Avoided litigation by developing an allocation formula in a facilitated mediation process over a two-year period. Persuaded NOAA to conduct the allocation. By persuading the government to facilitate the settlement, avoided what would otherwise have likely been multi-year litigation.
Represented pulp and paper company in defending claims related to cleanup of urban waterway in Tacoma, WA.
Another party alleged that a pulp mill formerly located on the bank of the Waterway was a source of PCB contamination in sediments. We demonstrated that the mill, which the client permanently closed down before the war, was unlikely to have ever used PCBs, and through archival research identified a subsequent landowner that was likely responsible.
Defending company that developed WWII shipyard in Vancouver, WA, against claims by current landowners related to debris buried at site.
Client left site in 1947. Because of age of site, the case presented special evidentiary challenges.
Assisted a national corporation in the remediation of contaminated sediments and associated uplands at a former aluminum smelter along the Columbia River, including the negotiation of consent decrees.
Negotiated consent decrees under the Washington Model Toxics Control Act and resolved allocation issues between client and other potentially liable parties.
Represented a large property owner in Seattle that spent considerable sum to clean up a site being used for the development of retirement housing.
Assisted client in recovering cleanup costs from the prior property owner.

Additional Superfund Site Experience

Asarco Smelter – RustonTacoma, Washington
Boomsnub-AIRCOVancouver, Washington
Bunker HillIdaho
Camp BonnevilleVancouver, Washington
Centralia LandfillCentralia, Washington
CleanCare Removal SiteTacoma, Washington
Coeur d’Alene BasinIdaho
Colbert LandfillColbert, Washington
Commencement Bay – Nearshore TideflatsTacoma, Washington
Commencement Bay – South Tacoma ChannelTacoma, Washington
East Mission FlatsCataldo, Idaho
General Electric Co.Spokane, Washington
Harbor Island PCB ShopSeattle, Washington
Holden MineChelan, Washington
Kaiser Aluminum Mead WorksMead, Washington
Lower DuwamishSeattle, Washington
Malarkey Asphalt CompanySeattle, Washington
Moses Lake WellfieldMoses Lake, Washington
Pacific Hide and FurPacatello, Idaho
Pacific Sound ResourcesSeattle, Washington
Portland Harbor, OregonPortland, Oregon
Queen City FarmsRenton, Washington
Standard Steel & MetalAnchorage, Alaska
St. Maries CreosoteSt. Maries, Idaho
Triumph Mine TailingsHailey, Idaho
Tulalip LandfillMarysville, Washington
Union Pacific RailroadWallace-Mullan, Idaho
Wallace Yard and SpurWallace, Idaho
Western ProcessingKent, Washington
Murray Smelter SiteMurray, Utah
Vasquez-Blvd-I70Denver, Colorado
Omaha Lead SiteOmaha, Nebraska
Sandy Smelter SiteSandy, Utah
Asarco Globe PlantDenver, Colorado

Bradley M. Marten Practice Head

Bradley M. Marten

Brad Marten is the Managing Partner of Marten Law. He is consistently ranked by his peers as one of the nation’s top environmental lawyers. Brad is the Immediate Past President of the American College of Environmental Lawyers. More »

Richard H. Allan

Richard H. Allan

Richard Allan is the managing partner of the firm’s Portland office. Richard represents developers in the acquisition, siting, expansion and operation of major projects, with an emphasis on energy facilities, but also including industrial facilities, ski areas, and destination resorts. More »

Svend A. Brandt-Erichsen

Svend A. Brandt-Erichsen

Svend Brandt-Erichsen has been an environmental lawyer for 25 years, having spent 20 years in private practice. Svend began his career on the legislative staff of Alaska’s Senator Ted Stevens and served as Regional Administrator of the State of Alaska’s Department of Environmental Conservation (ADEC). More »

Brian K. Ferrasci-O’Malley

Brian Ferrasci-O’Malley

Brian Ferrasci-O'Malley's practice focuses on environmental and natural resource litigation, permitting, and review. He assists clients in cases arising under CERCLA, MTCA, the Clean Water Act, the Clean Air Act, and the Endangered Species Act. More »

Jessica K. Ferrell

Jessica K. Ferrell

Jessica Ferrell's practice focuses on environmental and natural resource litigation. She represents public and private clients in cases arising under the Endangered Species Act, the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act, NEPA, CERCLA, MTCA, the Clean Water Act, and other federal, state, and local environmental laws. More »

Kevin T. Haroff

Kevin Haroff

Kevin Haroff is the managing partner of the firm’s San Francisco office. He has represented businesses, individuals, and governmental entities in civil litigation and regulatory matters for more than 25 years. More »

Jeff B. Kray

Jeff B. Kray

Jeff Kray's practice focuses on water quality, water resources, and complex environmental litigation, including Clean Water Act permitting and regulatory compliance, and CERCLA (Superfund) site remediation. He has represented public and private clients throughout the west. More »

Linda R. Larson

Linda R. Larson

Linda Larson has over 25 years of environmental law and land use experience. Over the course of her career, she has managed numerous complex litigation matters. She has successfully resolved disputes ranging from site remediation to endangered species, and has particular experience with marine resources and sediments issues. More »

Meline G. MacCurdy

Meline G. MacCurdy

Meli MacCurdy represents clients both in environmental litigation and environmental permitting and review. She has particular experience with brownfield redevelopment. She has defended cases under the Clean Water Act and the state and federal Superfund laws, and is assisting clients in fisheries matters and in issues involving climate change and energy. More »

Russell C. Prugh

Russell C. Prugh

Russell Prugh's practice focuses on environmental and natural resources litigation, and environmental permitting for facilities and projects in the Pacific Northwest and Alaska. Russell has particular experience with stormwater compliance issues, and represents clients in litigation arising under the Clean Water Act, CERCLA, MTCA, and other federal and state environmental laws. More »

Alcoa Inc.: Cleanup of Former Aluminum Smelter Site

We assisted Alcoa in the negotiation of the cleanup of the site of a World War II-era aluminum smelter. Cleanup activities included capping PCB-impacted river sediments, as well as the cleanup of groundwater underneath site landfills, USTs on a nearby river dike, and hydrocarbon-impacted areas. More »

ASARCO LLC: Largest Environmental Bankruptcy in U.S. History

We defended this former mining and smelting company in the first evidentiary estimation hearing in connection with the largest environmental bankruptcy case in United States history. The hearing, at the U.S. More »

City of Moses Lake: CERCLA and MTCA Cost Recovery

We represented the City in a CERCLA and MTCA cost recovery and contribution action to recover millions of dollars in remediation costs for a drinking water well field that was contaminated by an adjacent former military base, now a federal Superfund site, and successfully prosecuted claims against the military. More »

Hoyt Street Yards: Railyard to Urban Neighborhood

For 15 years, RIchard Allan has worked with Hoyt Street Properties, LLC, the developer that is transforming a former railyard into a high-density residential and commercial neighborhood and the focal point of Portland’s renowned Pearl District. More »

J.R. Simplot Co.: Mining and Manufacturing Facilities

We represent this large Northwest agribusiness and manufacturing company regarding remediation of several federal Superfund Sites on which its facilities are located, including issues related to surface water contamination from a previous neighboring phosphorous manufacturing plant and selenium and metal leaching from mining operations. More »

Las Cruces, New Mexico: Groundwater Contamination Cleanup

We represented one of the largest cities in New Mexico in a $30 million groundwater contamination cleanup at a Superfund Site on the National Priorities List, including regulatory negotiations, investigation of potentially responsible parties, and negotiation of allocation issues. More »

Missouri Superfund Site: CERCLA Defense

We served as lead defense counsel in federal district court and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit for this former operator of a Missouri Superfund Site in actions against the U.S. EPA and other private parties for costs recovery and contribution under CERCLA. More »

NCR Corp

Marten Law was retained by NCR Corp, a Fortune 500 maker of automated banking systems and electronic terminals, based in New York, to defend governmental and private claims brought against it and several other companies under CERCLA, the federal Superfund statute. More »

OII Landfill Cleanup

At this $1 billion landfill cleanup near Los Angeles, we initially represented 54 “de minimis” parties in negotiations with EPA and with a group of “work” defendants.

Through formation of a well-functioning Steering Committee, coupled with cash-out negotiations, we have succeeded in resolving the government’s CERCLA claims against all but eight of the parties we represent. More »

Schnitzer West: Indemnity and Cleanup of Hazardous Substance

In 1996, after the Seattle Commons initiative was rejected by the voters, many pieces of property which had been assembled for the proposed park were resold for development. One of those parcels was purchased by our client, who intended to develop it as part of the corporate campus for a major on-line retailer. More »

Seattle Brownfield: Cost Recovery and Insurance

Marten Law represented the former owner of property in Seattle, Washington contaminated by multiple commercial and residential underground oil storage tanks. The former property owner partially remediated the site and then sold it for urban redevelopment. More »

State of Louisiana (Gulf Oil Spill)

The firm is Special Counsel to the Attorney General of the State of Louisiana in the Gulf Oil spill litigation. Marten Law is the only out-of-state firm selected to assist the Attorney General. Louisiana is a principal complainant (along with the United States and four other Gulf states) in the largest environmental lawsuit ever brought in the United States. More »