Dartmouth College settles animal dump contamination case
CONCORD, N.H. — Dartmouth College has reached a settlement with a family that said they suffered health problems from drinking well water contaminated by runoff from a site where the Ivy League school once dumped animals used in science experiments.
"This will allow the Higginses to move on with their lives in a new location," college spokeswoman Diana Lawrence said, adding that details of the settlement remain confidential.
A nearby site also contained remains of human cadavers and stillborn fetuses used in medical classes.
One of the chemicals used in the experiments, a suspected carcinogen called 1,4-dioxane, leaked into the groundwater around the site — contaminating the Higgins family well and raising fears that property values in the area had been affected.
The chemical has been linked to eye, nose and throat irritation and, in long-term exposure, to liver and kidney damage, according to the Environmental Protection Agency.
Even their dogs were not spared, they said, with one urinating blood and another vomiting.
"This is a settlement that takes care of everything," he told VPR on Tuesday.
"It takes care of any future health issues, it takes care of the emotional distress, it’s A to Z."
If any of the 48 eligible homeowners want to sell, the college said it would make up the difference between the sale and the fair market value of the home or buy the property outright.
It completed construction in January on a system at the dump site to capture and clean contaminated water.