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Matson & Associates, Inc.
331 East Foster Ave.
State College, PA 16801
814 / 231-5253

Select Research Projects


Summary of Historical Operations Contributing to PCE & PCB Subsurface Contamination
When homeowners learned that their properties were situated over a groundwater plume containing chlorinated solvents, they sued the adjacent die cast facility and its insurance carriers.

The regulatory agency, having determined the facility was the source, had been requiring extensive site characterization and remediation of the subsurface. As the lawsuit progressed, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and polyaromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) were discovered in the residential soils as well. Our clients, representing the insurance carriers, retained M&A to research, evaluate and report on the facility’s historic operations concerning the use, handling and disposal of PCE and PCBs.

M&A analyzed company documents, consulting reports, documents from the regulatory files, industry standards, and federal and state regulations to determine the sources of the chemicals found on-site, to determine the timing of the discharges of the chemicals to the environment, and to determine whether the facility expected or intended harm to the environment due to its handling and disposal of PCBs and PCE. Based on our analysis, M&A found that the facility had deficient handling and disposal practices that led to the releases of PCBs and PCE to the environment and ultimately into the neighborhood. M&A presented this information in a face-to-face meeting with our clients to help them gain a better understanding of their liability associated with the case. Ultimately, we summarized our findings in a report that was provided to our clients. They were pleased with our consulting efforts and if the case had not settled M&A’s Dr. Matson would have been retained as an expert witness.

Acting in a consulting role allowed M&A to research and present on other aspects of the case within our research capabilities. This included analyzing and mapping the spatial extent of groundwater contamination and examining PAH distributions at the site to identify the source of these constituents in the neighborhood.

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Historical Usage of Chlorinated Solvents in Various Applications
The groundwater at a site in Massachusetts was contaminated with a variety of industrial chemicals including chlorinated solvents. When ownership of the site changed in the mid-1970s, the products manufactured also changed but the equipment and activities were similar. When the groundwater contamination was found, a dispute over compensation for remediation between the current owner and its insurance carriers ensued.

Our client, representing the insurers, wanted to know both the timing and usage of specific chlorinated solvents after the ownership changed. M&A was retained to research the historical uses of chlorinated solvents, including PCE, TCE, and TCA, particularly in vapor degreasing operations for a specific industry segment. After performing an in-depth literature search, including materials in our own collection of historical publications, we identified trends in preference in solvent usage and industry’s rationale for doing so, regulatory requirements for the different solvents, costs for each solvent over time, and the effectiveness of each solvent as a degreasing agent for specific metals over time. We synthesized our findings into an historical summary and provided it to a joint defense group representing the insurance carriers. The parties settled shortly after our submission.

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Analysis of Historical Applications, Sales and Uses of PCBs and Aroclors for Marine Environments
A west coast harbor was found to be contaminated with PCBs and the environmental agencies were seeking remediation of the sediments. There were a number of different industrial users at the harbor that could have contributed to the contamination. As a result, a dispute amongst the potentially responsible parties developed concerning cleanup of the PCBs.

Our client represented one of the industries in the cost allocation dispute and wanted to know whether its client or another party was associated with the PCB fingerprint in the sediments. M&A was retained to provide an historical summary of particular Aroclors (Monsanto’s trade name for PCBs) with marine applications during a specific time period. Because we had over a decade of experience on PCB matters, we had accumulated a large file on Monsanto’s Aroclors which included marketing, sales, and usage, for example. After conducting a search of our internal collection of materials and other historical publications, M&A determined during the relevant time period that Monsanto had marketed particular Aroclors for marine environments and industrial applications relevant to the other party. We synthesized our research and communicated our findings and materials to the client.

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Litigation Support

Expert Witnessing