Four Takeaways from a Case Involving Contaminated Drinking Water

| Feb 20, 2021 | Environmental Law

Environmental matters can quickly become headline news, particularly when there are concerns regarding conditions that create health hazards for citizens. In recent years, cases involving contaminated drinking water have attracted considerable attention.

For instance, one case in Newark, New Jersey that made national headlines this year was a situation involving high lead levels in drinking water. The issue, which you read about here, was recently resolved, and it highlights critical elements of these cases that potentially responsible parties involved in related environmental litigation would be wise to keep in mind.

  1. Matters that involve water contamination can be extremely complicated. Often parties must comply with not only state, federal, and local regulations and laws but also various methods of monitoring and testing water. Mistakes or violations at any of these points can trigger a legal dispute.
  2. Multiple parties are often involved. Cases involving water pollution or contamination are not always isolated events. There can be numerous private organizations involved, as well as cities tasked with maintaining infrastructure.
  3. These cases can take a long time to resolve. It can take years for environmental matters to make their way through the court system. In the case of the contaminated drinking water in Newark, New Jersey, the discovery of lead in the water traces back to 2010, while the primary lawsuit was filed in 2018. It took nearly three years to resolve the case from there. Further, when more parties are involved, the processes of negotiating agreements and determining liability takes a significant amount of time.
  4. The fixes can take even longer. There is rarely a quick fix for pollution, contamination, and other environmental issues. Massive changes may be necessary to enable companies to comply with new regulations; some solutions require a complete overhaul of a city’s infrastructure, as was the case with the lead-contaminated water. 

For these and a myriad of other reasons, defendants named in environmental claims need legal guidance of the highest caliber. Feel free to reach out to me if you’d like to discuss your options and determine the most intelligent legal strategy.