September 02, 2020

Can the Costs of Pumping and Treating Groundwater Be Included in Natural Resource Damages?

Richard W. Dunford

States are usually the trustee for injured groundwater in natural resource damage (NRD) claims brought under federal or state law. Recently, some states have included the cost of pumping and treating injured groundwater in their NRD claims as a restoration cost. In this article I argue that groundwater pump-and-treat (P&T) costs are remediation costs, which typically are not an element of an NRD claim. Later in the article, I describe the very limited circumstances under which groundwater P&T costs might be included in an NRD claim.

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