Dry Cleaner Process
Dry Cleaner Process Outline
What are my responsibilities?
- Gather available insurance documents and other records for your property.
- Hire an insurance coverage attorney. Some will review the policies and put the insurers on notice at no charge.
- Allow Wilcox and its subcontractors access to your property.
- We will need your time to explain what is going on and why we are doing certain things during each step of the process.
- Authorize our work, which the insurers have agreed to pay for.
I’m concerned that my property may have environmental impacts. How can I pay for this investigation and what is the process?
A typical investigation and clean-up of an environmentally impacted property can be funded through historical general liability insurance policies. In many cases, these historical policies can be used even if you did not own or operate at the property when the release occurred, the policies cannot be located, or the insurer doesn’t exist anymore. The process generally includes the following:
- Wilcox will meet with you to understand your specific situation and goals, with complete privacy and no obligation.
- We will help you review your files for evidence of historical insurance policies at no charge.
- We will recommend a specialized environmental attorney who will review the evidence we have compiled to establish eligibility and the amount of coverage that can be used to pay for any environmental issues that are discovered. Several of our partner attorneys will provide this service at no charge.
After we reconstruct the historical general liability insurance portfolio and determine the site’s eligibility for coverage, the following steps will be taken:
- Wilcox will complete limited subsurface sampling to determine if a release has occurred at the property at some point in the past. This will be provided at no cost with the agreement that Wilcox will be retained for future environmental work if contamination is discovered.
- If contamination is found, we will report it to Indiana Department of Environmental Management (IDEM) with your written approval. In a few days, IDEM will send you a letter asking for additional information on the historical operations of the business and for additional subsurface investigation. This IDEM letter serves as the “claim” under the historical insurance policy(ies) and will be submitted to the insurance company by your attorney.
- In time, the insurance company(ies) will agree to pay for the investigative work.
- Wilcox will prepare a proposal for the additional investigation and send it to your attorney, and the insurance company(ies) for review. As soon as approval is received, we will proceed with the investigation.
- After completing the investigation, Wilcox will send the report and invoice to the attorney and the insurance company for review. The report will also be sent to IDEM.
- After reviewing the report, if IDEM believes additional work is necessary to define the contamination, the agency will ask for a Further Site Investigation (FSI), and we will repeat the same process as above. During this process, everything, including your attorney’s fees and IDEM’s oversight fees, will be paid by the insurers.
- Once the extent of contamination has been defined, IDEM will request a Remediation Work Plan (RWP), which describes how we plan to clean up the contamination.
- Each step with IDEM has a deadline. It is Wilcox’s responsibility to stay on top of these deadlines. If circumstances require us to ask for an extension, we will coordinate with IDEM and the attorney.
- Preparing the RWP involves many parties (engineers, geologists, hydrogeologists, IDEM, counsel, etc.). It usually takes around 6 months to prepare the plan and get approval to move forward with the cleanup.
- Once the cleanup activities outlined in the RWP are completed, IDEM typically requires quarterly groundwater sampling for a minimum of 8 quarters (2 years) to monitor the success. If at the end of those 8 quarters, contaminant levels have decreased and stabilized, Wilcox will submit a request to IDEM for a No Further Action (NFA) letter for IDEM review and approval.
- During the investigation and cleanup processes, Wilcox will prepare all invoices and routinely accepts reimbursement directly from the insurers so that you would have no out-of-pocket expenses.
- Because we do not get paid until the insurers are satisfied, Wilcox operates efficiently and aggressively to achieve the regulatory milestones and achieve site closure.