Numerous drinking water wells near the small town of McBee in Chesterfield Country, SC, are contaminated with ethylene dibromide ( EDB ) and dibromochloropropane (DBCP). Historically, gasoline and aviation fuel contained small levels of EDB and DBCP, but the former use of these chemicals as a fumigant for peach orchards has led to a recent (Sept 2012) suit by Alligator Rural Water and Sewer, a Chesterfield water utility against McLeod Peach Farms and another company in Chesterfield. Alligator Water claims that the cost of investigating the contamination and filtering EDB and DBCP from its water supply will approach $450M. Groundwater contamination claims can be exceedingly expensive to investigate and notoriously difficult to litigate; however, knowledgeable attorneys and environmental professionals often have an arsenal of techniques to address these claims and should determine the most cost-effective approach based on the existing information (much of which has often already been gathered by government agencies) and the claims. For example, contaminated wells often have forensic “fingerprints” which can identify the source of contamination without the need for extensive – and expensive – groundwater modeling. Anyone involved in groundwater contamination claims should consult with professionals who have experience pursuing these types of investigations and litigation.
(For more information on this suit, see: http://www.wmbfnews.com/story/19735940/sc-water-utility-wants-450-million-from-accused-polluters?page=1)