Water System Claims Manufacturers are at Fault for TCP Contamination

A Bakersfield, Calif. public water system claimed in a complaint filed on Monday in the Superior Court of California that multiple defendants allowed TCP, a toxic substance contained in some agricultural products, to move through groundwater and into the company’s wells.

“[The] Plaintiff seeks to recover by this action the substantial costs necessary to protect the public and restore one or more of its drinking water supply wells, which are contaminated by the toxic chemical,” the complaint states. The plaintiff owns and runs a water system, which includes a production well, groundwater aquifers, and equipment used for pumping and moving water.

The complaint was filed by Goose Lake Water Property Owners Association, represented by John Paul Fiske with Baron & Budd, P.C., against manufacturers, distributors, and “releasers” of products with TCP. The defendants include: J.R. Simplot Company, Nutrien Ag Solutions Inc., Occidental Chemical Corporation, Purego Company, Shell Oil Company, Southern Valley Chemical Company, The Dow Chemical Company, Trical Inc., and Wilbur Ellis Company LLC.

The complaint claims the manufacturers of TCP products knowingly made and promoted items with TCP, which they knew could contaminate drinking water if the products reached groundwater. It alleges there are few companies who manufacture using TCP, which is not a naturally occurring chemical, in the United States. The plaintiff claimed TCP is a significant threat to public health and is a “probable human carcinogen” as it is known to cause diseases in animals.

“TCP has unique characteristics that cause extensive environmental contamination and a corresponding threat to the public health and welfare … TCP migrates readily through soil and groundwater, resists natural degradation, and is difficult and costly to remove from groundwater,” the complaint states.

Goose Lake Water Property Owners Association asked for funds to compensate their efforts designing, constructing, and maintaining drinking water facilities and the cost to clean its water supply and remove TCP.