The Latest: Owners of plant that burned during Harvey sued
Posted October 3
DALLAS — The Latest on reports of toxic chemicals found in samples taken miles from a chemical plant that flooded, exploded and burned during Hurricane Harvey (all times local):
A class-action lawsuit has been filed against the owner of a Houston-area chemical plant struck by fires and explosions after it was isolated by floodwaters from Hurricane Harvey.
The lawsuit filed Tuesday in federal court in Houston states that tests have detected toxic substances in soil, water and ash samples from the plaintiffs' properties miles from the Arkema Inc. plant in Crosby, about 25 miles (40 kilometers) northeast of Houston. The 15 residents named as plaintiffs link the contaminants to products stored or made at the plant.
The residents fault Arkema and its France-based parent company for not taking more precautions to control flooding, since the plant is located in a government-designated flood plain. They also complain that Arkema failed to fully warn residents about the health risks of smoke and water from the site.
Nearly 20 Houston-area residents say test results have detected toxic substances in soil, water and ash samples taken miles from a chemical plant that flooded during Hurricane Harvey, caught fire and partially exploded.
The findings were disclosed Monday afternoon in a letter the residents' lawyers mailed to the chief executive of the plant's owner, Arkema Inc., and several regulatory agencies, giving notice that they planned to sue.
The letter accuses Arkema of violating multiple environmental protection laws because of unauthorized chemical spills and releases that happened when the company failed to properly store and contain its organic peroxides before and after six feet of water overwhelmed the facility.
Arkema representatives could not immediately be reached Monday evening. The company has refused to say which chemicals were released during the fire and has repeatedly declined to discuss how large its inventory quantities were prior to the incident.