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Putnam County Plans To File Lawsuit Against Waste Management

Reported: Apr. 15, 2014 5:27 PM EDT
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HURRICANE, W.Va. (Chris Williams) -- People who live in Hurricane say it’s scary living only miles away from a chemical that affected the water supply for 300,000 West Virginians.

"We won't cook with it. The only thing we do is our dishes and clothes, and that's not too safe," said Hurricane resident Pamela Messer.

There are about 100 tons of MCHM in the waste management landfill. To get rid of it, Putnam County Commissioners and the city of Hurricane are teaming up and taking Waste Management to court.

"It's just one of those things where I don't see that there is an alternative. We've got to do something, proactively, to try to protect the health and welfare of the residents of Putnam County," said Putnam County Commissioner Joe Haynes.

Haynes said this is the biggest lawsuit, in the county, he can remember during his 10 year tenure. Commissioners approved the lawsuit Tuesday morning, and hired Michael Callaghan to represent them.

"We're going to file under a couple of federal statutes, CERCLA and RCRA, and we're going to ask that a federal judge order waste management to remove the hazardous waste that is in the landfill in Putnam County," said Attorney Michael Callaghan.

Callaghan is going to be working with several environmental legal experts from around this country on this case. He hopes to get this matter in front of a federal judge in the next 2 months.

"Every day that waste is in this landfill, it poses a potential danger to the citizens of Putnam County," added Callaghan.

That’s good news for Messer who says the chemical can't stay in the ground much longer.

"They say it's going to sink into the water system, that’s what we've been told," Messer added.



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