Water contamination is a serious issue. Congress enacted the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) to protect the drinking water supply for all Americans. But, the SDWA does not always work as it should be expected to work.
When problems arise, you can file a lawsuit against those responsible for your exposure to contaminated water. If you or a loved one has been exposed to contaminated drinking water, read on to learn more about whether you may be eligible to file a lawsuit and what types of damages or compensation are available through such litigation in your area.
Table of Contents
How Lead Contamination in Water Affects People
Anyone who has been exposed to lead contamination in their water is at risk of developing a variety of health problems. Lead poisoning can affect the brain, kidneys, and blood, leading to high blood pressure, anemia, and other severe symptoms.
Lead exposure can also seriously affect children: it can cause permanent learning disabilities and behavioral issues like hyperactivity. Children are particularly vulnerable because they are more likely than adults to suffer from lead-related health conditions such as anemia or kidney damage—and these problems.
What Is the Safe Drinking Water Act?
The Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) is a federal law that protects the quality of drinking water in the United States. It requires EPA to set national standards for drinking water quality and health-based standards for contaminants in drinking water.
Under this law, states have primary responsibility for implementing most of the Act’s requirements through their rules, regulations, or programs. The EPA can take over implementation if a state fails to operate an effective program under certain conditions specified by Congress.
Water Contamination Cases
Here are some examples of cases that have been filed against water companies:
In 1997, a jury awarded $10 million to the family of a woman who died from leukemia caused by drinking well water contaminated with benzene. The company had discovered high levels of benzene in 1975 but hadn’t told anyone until 1985—when they were forced to do so by regulators.
In 1996, a jury awarded more than 34 million dollars to two sisters who developed kidney cancer after drinking well water contaminated with trihalomethanes (TTHMs). The lawsuit claimed that the company knew about these high levels as early as 1993 but didn’t tell anyone until 2001—and only then because regulators were pressuring it.
Camp Lejuene Water Contamination Lawsuit
Camp Lejuene is a U.S. Marine Corps base in North Carolina that houses 22,000 personnel and their families. The base has had multiple water contamination issues since the late ’80s and early ’90s, resulting in health problems for many of its residents.
Unfortunately, these issues have gone on for so long that they’re now past state statute of limitations laws. This means people affected by the contamination can’t file suit against the government or military officials who caused it — unless they were to get sick within the last two years, which is possible. However, if you or your family member is a victim, you may consult a lawyer to explore your chances under the Camp Lejeune Justice Act.
The source of this contamination was a series of tanks containing pesticides called tetrachloroethylene (or PERC) used by Camp Lejuene’s Southside Water Treatment Plant during its construction period between 1984 through 1987. These tanks were eventually removed but left behind hazardous vapors which seeped into nearby wells and contaminated them with benzene, trichloroethylene (TCE), tetrachloroethylene (Perc), and vinyl chloride monomer (VCM).
According to research done by researchers at Duke University Medical Center, over 2 million medical records of people living near Camp Lejeune from 1971 – 2012 show adverse health effects due to drinking contaminated water.
Health effects include cancer diagnoses such as leukemia and bladder/kidney cancer; autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis; neurological disorders like Parkinson’s disease; endocrine system disorders such as hypothyroidism; developmental delays in children born during this period; other noncancerous tumors like breast cancer among women who lived near Camp Lejeune while pregnant.
MTBE Underground Contamination Lawsuit in Rhode Island
The gasoline additive MTBE (methyl tertiary butyl ether) is a toxic chemical that can cause cancer, liver damage, and other serious health problems. This chemical has been found to contaminate groundwater in many states, including Rhode Island.
MTBE is used as a gasoline additive to reduce automobile emissions of unburned hydrocarbons and carbon monoxide when mixed with oxygen during combustion. MTBE has been added to diesel fuel since the 1950s for its anti-knock properties.
In addition to being an additive for unleaded gasoline and diesel fuel, MTBE has also been used as a solvent for oil separation or removal from water sources; however, this use is now banned due to its toxicity levels being too high even at low concentrations levels when ingested into humans who drink contaminated water containing this substance.
Can I File a Lawsuit Because of Exposure to Contaminated Water?
If you have been exposed to contaminated drinking water, you could be eligible to file a lawsuit. If you live in a city or community with pending water contamination lawsuits, you may be entitled to pursue your compensation.
If someone has been hurt because of the contamination of their drinking water, they can file a personal injury claim against the responsible party. Whether or not they will win their case depends on several factors:
- The nature of their injuries and how they were caused (i.e., whether or not they have medical proof that their illness was caused by tainted water)
- The extent of their injuries (i.e., whether or not they require long-term care)
- How long does it take for those injuries to become apparent (i.e., whether or not there is enough evidence that shows that the person’s health problems started after being exposed.)
The Safe Drinking Water Act was enacted in 1974 to protect public drinking water from contamination. However, this law does not apply directly to private wells and other water sources. In recent years, there have been several lawsuits related to contaminated drinking water due to poorly-designed waste disposal systems and other issues.
In some cases, exposure to contaminated groundwater can lead to serious health problems such as leukemia or cancer. Some types of cancer are linked with exposure to benzene (a chemical found in gasoline), tetrachloroethylene (also known as PCE), trichloroethylene (TCE), vinyl chloride monomer or vinyl chloride resin or vinyl bromide monomer or vinyl bromide resin).
If you have been exposed to contaminated water and suspect it has caused health problems or other damages in your life, then it’s worth looking into whether or not you have legal recourse.