Background

A boat storage facility located on the Ashley River and adjacent to a Mobil Oil facility near Charleston, South Carolina, sued Mobil Oil for alleged damages to their property from releases at their facility. The suit claimed Mobil had released contamination into both soil and groundwater at the boat storage yard.

Approach

The plaintiff’s soil and groundwater data at the boat yard were inconclusive. We developed a limited site investigation designed to collect sufficient data to demonstrate that Mobil was not the source of the contamination. Aerial photography and historical research on the operation of the boat yard were also part of the investigation.

Results

Historical research revealed that the boat yard had previously collected bilge water from ships docking at Charleston harbor. They had dumped this bilge water into a lagoon that was located on the boat yard property. Aerial photographs taken during this time period provided evidence of not only the lagoon, but of a tank truck dumping waste into the lagoon. Site investigation sampling confirmed the presence of the former lagoon, and the presence of contaminants consistent with ship bilge water. The site data also proved that no alleged contamination was migrating onto the ship yard from the Mobil facility. As a result of our investigation, resulting expert report and deposition testimony, the lawsuit was dropped.