The environmental impact of certain chemical handling companies has become the subject of scrutiny due to containment failure at a West Virginia facility, also known as the West Virginia Chemical Spill or Water Crisis. On January 9th, 2014, the chemical MCHM, used to clean coal, leaked from containment at a Freedom Industries facility. The spill tainted the drinking water of about 300,000 West Virginians who could not use tap water for nearly a week. Environmental injury attorneys launched lawsuits against Freedom Industries for damages resulting from the spill. Several lawsuits came from local businesses that lost money due to the water use ban. Many may be unable to recover damages due to Freedom Industries filing bankruptcy.
Could A Chemical Spill Affect Alabama’s Water Supply?
Many people are speculating on future environmental effects of chemical and oil spills such as the West Virginia oil spill, and one of those is columnist Bob Nicholson. In his article, he covers a lot of very real possibilities for the future of Alabama. But what should really be taken away as a lesson: in these situations, a victim of a spill should seek legal counsel if they truly want their rights protected.
Many industries have regulations for the storage and transport of various classifications of hazardous materials. Others are not as comprehensive, nor do they have the appropriate oversight to ensure that such an accident can be avoided. These kinds of circumstances often lead to the involvement of personal injury attorneys acting on behalf of people affected by the actions of the company. A personal injury attorney could increase the chances a person affected by such a spill has in recovering damages for their suffering and expenses.
The leak in the Freedom Industries facility stemmed from an inch wide hole that allowed the chemical MCHM to escape the storage tank. The chemical then reached the river by leaking through a cracked containment wall that was meant to serve as a second line of defense. It is speculated that the initial hole was caused by the sharp freezes the in area in the previous weeks leading up to the leak. The cracked containment wall is stated to have been a separate, long-term problem altogether.
Regulation And Enforcement
In many instances instead of regulations covering chemical storage, mere recommendations for maintenance and spill containment often have do not have the backing of regulatory authorities. West Virginia does not have strong regulations enforcing inspection of chemical holding tanks or secondary retaining measures to ensure spills are prevented. Alabama water contamination preventions practices appear to suffer from similar shortcomings.
Different states have different attitudes on how they nurture business growth within their borders. Alabama and West Virginia appear to have long taken a hands-off approach to let businesses operate and grow with less regulation. Alabama water contamination prevention practices are a part of the safety that could suffer due to State government staying hands-off.
As this article from Bob Nicholson discusses, unless these shortcomings are addressed on a major scale, it is likely that personal injury attorneys may have to field Alabama water contamination cases in the future. Lax inspections means containment walls could be riddled with cracks and holes like the West Virginia facility. No enforcement means less scrupulous companies can put the drinking water supply at risk for increased profit.
Fixing The Problem
When legislation and regulations fail to address the problems caused by unsafe chemical storage practices, many times affected individuals can seek to enforce their rights through the court system with the assistance of a personal or environmental injury attorney. If you have dealt with water contamination and you believe it is due to a company’s negligence, contact Attorney Group for Alabama today to discuss your legal rights. We can help you determine if you have a valid claim and connect you with an experienced attorney who can assist you in seeking compensation for your losses and injuries.