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Liability of Hazardous-Waste Brokers for Negligent Selection of Treatment and Disposal Facilities

August 1996

Citation: ELR 10424

Author: John J. Zodrow

About a decade ago, disposal facilities began infiltrating the market for transportation of hazardous waste, to guarantee that they would be shipped an adequate supply of waste. To regain the transportation business, transportation companies increased the scope of the services they provided, to include recommending and selecting treatment and disposal facilities. This intense competition for the transportation and disposal markets created a new intermediary called a hazardous-waste "broker."

Generally, the services that hazardous-waste brokers offer vary according to the particular needs of the client-generator. Brokers often assist with the completion of labeling and manifest requirements, package materials for shipping, and load materials onto the transportation vehicles. Brokers also make arrangements for transportation of the waste (either by subcontracting or using broker-owned vehicles), for treatment of the waste (if necessary), for additional transportation to the disposal facility, and for disposal of the hazardous materials.

Mr. Zodrow is an environmental litigator for the Denver law firm of Zodrow et al. P.C. and writes frequently on negligence and standards of care for environmental professionals. He recently represented Power Engineering Company in Quicksilver Prods., Inc. v. Power Eng'g Co., No. C-93-1739 (N.D. Cal. Feb. 2, 1996) (negligent disposal facility) and Power Eng'g Co. v. EnviroChem Servs. L.C., No. 95-CV-1941 (D. Colo. filed May 4, 1995) (negligent transporter/broker). The author thanks Lynnae Flora of the firm for her research assistance.

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