Curtis Tate Published

Courtland Calls Union Carbide Ruling A ‘David Versus Goliath Victory’

A grassy mound with a stone stairway and wall, with a large sign that identifies the location.Curtis Tate / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

A company that took Union Carbide to court over a hazardous waste dump celebrated a favorable ruling from a federal judge.

Courtland Company, which sued Union Carbide beginning in 2018, called the outcome a “David versus Goliath victory.”

Late last week, U.S. District Judge John T. Copenhaver Jr., in a 400-page decision, found that Union Carbide had violated federal law by creating an illegal open dump in South Charleston.

In testimony last year in Charleston, Courtland’s lawyers showed evidence that Union Carbide had dumped toxic substances in the landfill over a 30-year period and had not sought any permits from the state or federal government.

Testing revealed the presence of contaminants in Davis Creek, a tributary of the Kanawha River.

If Copenhaver’s ruling stands, Union Carbide will pay for the cleanup of soil and water contamination and could face civil penalties under the Clean Water Act.

In a statement, Union Carbide, a subsidiary of Dow Chemical, noted that Copenhaver dismissed two of four pending lawsuits against it.

The company added that it is working with the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection to clean up the Filmont Landfill under the department’s Voluntary Remediation Program. That effort began before last year’s trial and continues today, the company said.