The Alligator Rural Water and Sewer Company is asking for $450 million to clean up ground water contamination, blaming 17 individuals or companies as the source of three different chemicals allegedly found in both private and public wells in the McBee area of Chesterfield County.
The Alligator Water Company, which has been in business for 25 years and generates an annual revenue of approximately $230,000, claims some of its water is no longer suitable for human consumption. According to the lawsuit that was filed earlier this fall, “production wells have become contaminated from the release and/or releases of Defendants’ toxic and hazardous substances, including but not limited to ethylene dibromide (DBCP), dibromochloropropane (EDB) and trichloroethylene (TCE), thereby rendering the aquifer form which Plaintiff draws its potable water unusable without remediation and/or treatment.”
The defendants named in the suit include: C.S. McLeod Farms, Inc., A.C. McLeod, Jr., A.C. McLeod, Jr., LLC, Amanda Jayne McLeod, LLC, Rachel McLeod-McCormick, LLC, A.C. McLeod, III, LLC, Spencer McLeod, LLC, James Byrd, LLC, Collins Mac, LLC, Campbell Jr., LLC, The Dow Chemical Company, Shell Oil Company, Occidental Chemical Corporation, Mar-Mac Wire, Inc., Mar-Mac Construction Products, Inc., Mar-Mac Manufacturing Co., Inc., and Mar-Mac Protective Apparel, Inc.
A pamphlet from DHEC’S 2008 public meeting concerning well water contaminants in McBee, describes EDB as a clear, heavy liquid with a sweet odor. According to DEHEC, “before the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) banned all agricultural uses of it in the 1980’s, EDB was widely used to control bugs in stored products, on fruits and vegetables, in flour mills and in soil. It was used in leaded gasoline and airplane fuel. Industries use it as a solvent in making dyes and drugs.”
DEHEC describes DBCP as a thick, yellow or amber liquid with a sharp odor. “Before the EPA banned it in the late 1970’s, it was used as a pesticide on soybeans, peaches, cotton, tomatoes, and other crops. It was also injected into soil to control thread-like worms that damage crop and plant roots. DBCP was also used on lawns and golf courses,” according to DEHEC.
The third chemical, TCE, is a pale, blue, nonflammable man-made chemical used as a metal degreaser. It can also be found in typewriter correction fluid, paint, spot removers, carpet-cleaning fluids and varnishes.
According to Deputy Clerk Carol Bowen, all 17 of the defendants in the case have filed their responses, however, “unless a separate motion is filed, the case cannot go to trial until 365 days after it was originally filed, which will be August 2013.”
— Staff Writer Karen Kissiah can be reached by calling 843-537-5261, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.