SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – Technology company Northrop Grumman was sued Wednesday for failure to acknowledge and control chemical contamination of residential areas in Springfield.
The law firm Peiffer Wolf Carr Kane & Conway (Peiffer Wolf) held a news conference discussing the suit featuring business owners and Springfield residents affected by the contamination.
The chemical compound, trichloroethylene (TCE), is a human carcinogen and exposure can cause kidney and liver cancer, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, and other serious health problems.
TCE was discovered in Springfield in the Fantastic Caverns area. Researchers discovered the chemicals stemmed from an old industrial site about three miles away from the caverns and stretching about a 30-mile radius.
State officials tested the area for high TCE levels and discovered levels above the maximum in a few local wells, meaning several residents have been exposed to high TCE levels through their drinking water.
One Springfield couple has owned property less than a quarter of a mile from the contamination site since 2006.
Don and Beverly York purchased the property, where they lived and worked, not knowing it was near the contaminated site and the water they used for drinking, cooking, and bathing was contaminated with dangerous levels of TCE.
Don’s brother, Terry York, also lived on the property for seven years and passed away from kidney issues.
“We put our hearts and our savings into making our property a better place to live and work from. If we’d known that TCE was going to be such a nightmare, we never would have bothered. Now we lose sleep wondering if we’ll have health problems when we get older like my brother did. No property owner should have to endure what we’ve gone through,” said Don York.