Last month Monsanto Chemical Co., Columbia Paint and Coating Co., and the State of Montana agreed to settle a class action lawsuit for $6 million. The case involved 202 landowners in Lewistown, Montana, who claimed that their property had been devalued due to Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) found in nearby Big Spring Creek.
In 1997 a 10-year-old boy’s school science project discovered Big Spring Creek’s PCB contamination. After further investigation the Big Springs Trout Hatchery located upstream was claimed to be source of the PCB pollution. During the 1960s, the fish hatchery raceways were coated with paint containing PCBs. As a result, paint chips containing the harmful pollutants were carried downstream contaminating the fish, surface waters and nearby property. According to the Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, PCBs are suspected carcinogens and are known to harm the reproductive system.
Of the $3.3 million dollars going to the landowners, $1.3 million will be for reduced property values and $2 million will compensate for emotional distress. Although the actual terms of the settlement are confidential, it’s known that the state agreed to pay $700,000. Additionally, Columbia Paint revealed that it had contributed $350,000 to the settlement funds. Consequently, it can be presumed that Monsanto will pay nearly $5 million to settle the claims. The only issue yet to be resolved is how much the defendants will pay to remediate the contaminated waterway.
Source: Great Falls Tribune and AOL News
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