Tuesday, November 01, 2016

Water and chemical firms to pay victims $151M for 2014 chemical spill that fouled W.Va. water

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A settlement of a class-action lawsuit will require West Virginia American Water Co. and Eastman Chemical Co. to pay $151 million in compensation for the 2014 chemical spill that contaminated the drinking water of 300,000 people in Charleston and surrounding communities, Ken Ward reports for the Charleston Gazette-Mail. West Virginia American will pay $125 million and Eastman $26 million.

"Exact distribution plans for the money still are being worked out, but lawyers for the plaintiff class said they believe the settlements will compensate everyone affected by the spill—from residents who had to purchase bottled water to businesses that had to close when they couldn’t use their water, to individuals who sought medical attention after being exposed to the chemicals that contaminated the region’s drinking water supply following the Jan. 9, 2014, spill at Freedom Industries," Ward writes.

Both companies said in statements that as part of the settlement "they did not admit any fault or liability for the contamination of the region’s drinking water," Ward writes. West Virginia American said, “A resolution through a settlement allows us and our dedicated employees to serve our customers without the distractions of ongoing lawsuits.” Eastman said, “We we worked with plaintiffs’ counsel to negotiate a global settlement to resolve all litigation, and to provide benefits and closure to the community.”

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