Union Carbide faces retrial for water pollution

An attorney for the Courtland Company has filed a new complaint with the Charleston U.S. District Court for water pollution from an industrial landfill belonging to Union Carbide.

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

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

Expert testing on Davis Creek, which runs alongside the two properties, revealed high levels of arsenic, chromium, cadmium, lead, selenium, mercury and other toxic substances.

According to the complaint, the site was used to remove coal ash and by-products from chemical manufacturing and wastewater treatment. It was never designed to prevent substances from entering groundwater and nearby waterways, the complaint says.

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

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

In the previous lawsuit, Courtland sought a temporary injunction to force Union Carbide to take immediate action to clean up the site.

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

In his April ruling, Senior Judge John Copenhagen agreed with Union Carbide.

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

Union Carbide is a subsidiary of Dow Chemical.

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