Pollution Overview: Contractors, USTs, Farms, Other

By: Kari A. Dybdahl | Executive Vice President / Director of Operations | ARMR.Net, LLC
Exciting things are happening in the environmental insurance industry. With more and more insurance professionals and purchasers
understanding that environmental exposures range well beyond hazardous waste, the demand for environmental insurance products continues to increase. There exists a decade long stigma in the insurance industry that environmental or pollution
insurance is only needed by hazardous waste contractors. However, never in the history of the infamous pollution exclusions found in standard ISO liability and property policies have these exclusions ever been limited to just hazardous waste. Various case law across the country confirms the broad application of these exclusions. Almost every industry carries some sort of environmental and pollution exposure including farms, any site with underground storage tanks, commercial properties, and contractors; case law in many states and actual claims have only exemplified that exposure.
For example, in 2013, the Supreme Court in Wisconsin recently ruled manure as a “pollutant”. In Iowa, Des Moines Water
Works sued farmers upstream of the rivers that supply Des Moines residents with their drinking water for polluting the city’s
water source with nitrates, which are found in manure. In Washington state, farmers spreading excessive amounts of manure
on their fields were cited under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) for disposing of a hazardous waste
without a permit; the claim stated that the excessive amounts of manure resulted in runoff containing high levels of nitrates
that polluted nearby sources of drinking water. This is evidence that federal and environmental laws are now applying to
agriculture for the first time ever. Whether you want to believe it or not, these actions affect every farm across the country; a
substance they deal with on a daily basis that has on more than one occasion been referred to as “liquid gold” is now a
pollution exposure. The need for environmental insurance on farms has changed. Advancements in science and social norms
make it no longer socially acceptable to spread manure on a farm field without consequences