Curtis Tate Published

Union Carbide Faces New Lawsuit Over Water Pollution

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An attorney for the Courtland Company has filed a new complaint in U.S. district court in Charleston over water pollution from an industrial landfill that Union Carbide owns.

In his fourth lawsuit since 2018, Charleston attorney Michael Callaghan alleges that Union Carbide operated the landfill from the 1950s to the 1980s and that it was not designed to contain toxic materials.

The site is adjacent to a property Courtland owns, and the lawsuits have alleged contamination of its property from the Union Carbide landfill.

Expert testing of Davis Creek, which runs along both properties, has revealed high levels of arsenic, chromium, cadmium, lead, selenium, mercury and other toxic substances.

According to the complaint, the site was used to dispose of coal ash and the byproducts of chemical manufacturing and wastewater treatment. It was never designed to keep the substances from leaking into nearby groundwater and streams, the complaint says.

The lawsuit seeks to force Union Carbide to clean up the site and pay civil penalties under provisions of the federal Clean Water Act.

No enforcement action has yet been taken by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency or the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection.

In the previous lawsuit, Courtland sought a temporary restraining order to force Union Carbide to immediately take steps to clean up the site.

Union Carbide argued that the state agency should oversee the case, not federal regulators.

In his April decision, Senior Judge John Copenhaver agreed with Union Carbide.

State officials last October issued a violation against Union Carbide under the West Virginia Water Pollution Control Act based on evidence that the landfill was polluting the streams.

Union Carbide is a subsidiary of Dow Chemical.