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Insurance companies rely upon StoneHill to obtain the data required to assess whether insurance coverage applies to spills or other incidents involving oils or hazardous materials, and to conduct third party reviews to minimize wasteful activities and identify inappropriate costs. StoneHill also conducts site investigations and cleanups directly for insurance companies and insured parties. Our extensive hands-on experience and cost control oversight has resulted in significant cost savings for the insured and their provider. StoneHill also provides environmental consulting services to assist insurance companies and commercial/industrial facilities with loss control audits to reduce liabilities and improve facility compliance, environmental claim cost control support, and environmental consulting/remediation services. In many cases StoneHill=s claims review and cost control oversight involvement has resulted in significant reductions in the cost of claims.

Selected Project Summaries

Metals Plating Facility Fire – Eastern MA

During the course of fighting a fire which destroyed a metal plating facility, application of over 500,000 gallons of water caused vats containing plating
solutions to overflow. The spilled solutions flowed across the property and into a nearby wetland pond and drainage ditches. StoneHill was retained by one of the involved insurance companies to assess fire related impacts and to separate
those impacts from contamination due to historical releases at the site. StoneHill investigated the sources and extent of the metals contamination, both through review of available background documentation including historical aerial photography, and the collection of additional field data. Initial sampling and analyses of wetland sediments by others utilizing inappropriate sampling methods, indicated total concentrations of chromium, nickel, cadmium, copper, and cyanide as great as five percent by weight in several samples. The sampling program developed by StoneHill included innovative methods to collect undisturbed wetland sediment cores to understand the true distribution of the contamination. Detailed site reconnaissance and trials of several sampling methods were a key component of obtaining representative project data which ultimately indicated that historical discharges from the facility, and not the fire, were by far the greatest source of the metals contamination identified, thus substantially reducing the financial liability of our client.

 

House Relocation for Fuel Spill Remediation - Randolph, MA
StoneHill assumed control of a fuel oil spill remediation project following a change in the insurance company covering the continued cost of site
cleanup. The previous consultant had expended over $110,000 during the previous six months attempting to remove oil impacted soil and groundwater from beneath the residence basement slab. The previous response actions had included hand excavation of contaminated soil, shoring of the residence
foundation, and groundwater pumping and treatment. Upon taking over the project, StoneHill determined that the fuel oil release had impacted soils well beyond the foundation perimeter requiring additional soil excavation adjacent to and below the foundation. A review of potential remedial alternatives and costs indicated that temporary relocation of the home and demolition of the foundation was a cost effective alternative which would provide direct access to impacted soil and groundwater. Once the home was relocated to the backyard, removal of soil and treatment of groundwater resulted in achieving pre-spill background conditions within one week. Placement of the home on a new foundation and reoccupancy by the owners occurred within four weeks after commencement of StoneHill’s remediation program. The key to the success of this project was completing a thorough investigation of the spill extent to determine the most cost effective remedial alternative to implement. In all, the cost of StoneHill’s program which included achieving background conditions and restoration of the property, was equivalent to the total expense of the previous six month effort which could have been avoided had the release been adequately investigated prior to commencing remedial actions.


Residential Oil Spill - Third Party Review - Abington, MA
StoneHill was retained by an insurance company to conduct a third-party review of costs associated with the ongoing remediation of a 200-gallon
residential oil spill. Costs billed by the cleanup contractor had exceeded $250,000 and were continuing to rise. StoneHill’s detailed review of the cleanup contractor’s invoices and billing records revealed over $65,000 in excessive billing above industry standards before even

considering the appropriateness of the remedial methods employed during the cleanup. With regards to methods used, StoneHill identified issues such as mobilizing a grossly oversized groundwater treatment system that required 24 hour monitoring to prevent it from freezing, versus using a small package treatment system which could have been placed in a heated garage for a fraction of the cost. Additionally, the contractor considered the basement cleanup area a permit-required confined space, requiring that an additional man be present at all times at the basement entrance. StoneHill identified that by adding an additional bulkhead entrance to the basement, the confined space condition would have been eliminated and an estimated $500 per day would have been saved. StoneHill’s hands-on field experience was critical to understanding the details of the remedial operations and implementing cost control measures.

 

600 State Street, Suite 2
Portsmouth, NH 03801
Telephone: 603-433-1935
Toll Free: 1-800-639-4503
Fax: 603-433-1942
info@stonehillenvironmental.com

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