Across the United States, there are several industries that rely on roadway transportation to move materials, such as crude oil, gasoline, heating oil, and hazardous materials. The Department of Transportation (DOT) reports that 11-billion tons of freight are moved annually by trucking on roads and over 280 million miles are traveled by truckers. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) there are 500,000 trucking accidents each year in the US and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) reports that over 1,300 cargo tank rollovers are reported each year. The FMCSA reported that many truck rollovers were caused by the driver not adjusting speed, followed by fatigue, oversteering, and load/weight balancing.
Rollover Remediation Challenges
Due to the nature of rollovers being an emergency, there are several challenges a company or responsible party may face when it comes to remediating the release. A typical tanker truck capacity ranges from approximately 3,000-gallons to over 10,000-gallons; therefore, it is likely that any release resulting from an accident with a tanker truck is going to have a large loss volume that can migrate across a large area. Releases on roadways and highways not only impact the roadway, but they impact the surrounding soils, waterways, and subsurface infrastructure (such as catch basins and drainage areas). Based on the environmental media impacted by the release, more than one regulatory agency can be involved. The U.S. Department of Transportation, state environmental agencies, local health departments, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and the United States Coast Guard (USCG) are some of the agencies that may be involved. This can mean that the responsible party has several agencies that the remediation needs to satisfy.
Another challenge of an accident or rollover incident is the negative exposure that comes with having a release in the public view. Traffic delays, road closures, and injuries can be an unfortunate outcome. There can be immense pressure on the responsible party and their contractors to remediate quickly to re-open roadways.
Insurance Company Liabilities
As the insurer of a responsible party, the challenges of remediating a rollover can result in cost increases. In order to control costs, it can be imperative to determine what remedial companies are involved, who retained them, and understanding the billing structure. Responsible parties may not have local staff or offices in the region of the release, and they may be relying on their contractor to help them navigate the remediation. Since rollover and accident-related releases are emergency situations, contractors may pressure responsible parties to sign contracts and agree to rates and fees that may not be reasonable.
How Can VERTEX Help?
VERTEX has a team of environmental professionals that have the expertise to opine on the cause, origin, and timing of releases, determine the necessary response activities, the extent of the impacts, identify any potentially responsible parties, and determine the appropriate remedial efforts and regulatory reporting necessary to correct the environmental condition. VERTEX has a proven record negotiating with contractors to ensure that remedial jobs are completed efficiently and achieve regulatory closure. VERTEX’s strategic nationwide locations allow us to mobilize on behalf of our clients to identify and mitigate challenges associated with rollover releases.