Groundwater: Liability Risk Management

Those believing in water witching and dowsing rods don’t have to worry about coming up with dry holes and being sued, because they are not considered to be professionally credentialed. However, groundwater geologists and engineers are well aware of their exposures to general, professional, pollution and products liability/completed operations risks. Their surveys are relied upon to produce water for the population’s needs or to divert water away from construction and other areas, and failure to produce or divert water can lead to professional liability claims.

Accessing the Source – Professional and Drilling Exposures

Farmers, businesses and communities don’t pay for dry holes, but somebody will. Drilling rigs, either light or heavy, create safety and stability exposures during transportation and at drilling sites. Likewise, drilling accuracy is essential to avoid contact with cables, pipelines and other underground structures.  Watching for overhead clearance, checking cribbing and careful rig maintenance are key elements in avoiding accidents that could lead to serious claims. Drilling and improper well maintenance can also lead to contamination of ground water resources with bacteria, hazardous chemicals, corrosives and other contaminants, paving the way for lawsuits.

Helping the Environment and Working on Contamination – Risks and Rewards

Serious efforts are being made to increase work in the natural environment in order to avoid creating additional pollution. As a result, geothermal heating and cooling installations are becoming more popular. Tapping the boiling waters of thermal vents to heat commercial and industrial plants as well as capturing the constant temperature of the earth to serve as the base for heating and cooling homes and businesses can sharply reduce the pollution hazards involved in existing heating and cooling methods. However, these installations face many of the same problems associated with finding and drilling for groundwater.  Alleged inaccurate professional assessments of the adequacy, longevity or accessibility of sources present professional liability exposures. Drilling, trenching and fabrication of the systems can also lead to products and completed operations failures and claims, and again, accessing the source can lead to contamination of the source.

Remediation Liability

While it may not be the “china shop” comparison, it is much like it. If you contaminate it, you’d better know how to remediate it. Claims arise not only against the drillers, operators and designers who might break into ground water resources, but also against those who over-promise and under-deliver on remediation efforts.

About Watercolor Management

WaterColor Management has insured the water industry for over 30 years.  Our policies include unlimited defense cost coverage in the event of a lawsuit against you. Call us at (256) 260-0412 or email info@watercolormanagement.com for a quick quote for your Groundwater Professional, Products/Completed operations, Pollution and General Liability Insurance.

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