A San Francisco jury has awarded $18.3 million to Modesto in a long-running lawsuit the City filed 11 years ago against producers of dry cleaning chemicals that leached into soil and polluted groundwater. Modesto intends to use the money primarily for groundwater cleanup. The City argues that the chemical makers — Dow Chemical of Michigan and PPG Industries of Pennsylvania — bear a share of the responsibility for what could amount to $100 million in costs to remove perchloroethylene, a chemical referred to as PCE that is suspected of causing cancer, from Modesto groundwater.
The City has settled with several other chemical producers for more than $23 million. It also has collected millions of dollars from insurance claims related to PCE leaking into groundwater from dry cleaners. The verdict against Dow and PPG centered on contamination from Elwood Dry Cleaning Service. The trial took about four months. The trial judge dismissed most of the sites that Modesto claimed were contaminated, finding that the City didn’t provide evidence to support the charges. Claims were dismissed by the judge against one of the chemical makers, R.R. Street of Illinois, that Modesto sued. There will likely be more litigation filed by cities in California over PCE cleanup.
Source: The Modesto Bee
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