Deadline to file water crisis claims draws near
The deadline to file a claim in the class-action lawsuit over the January 2014 water crisis is Wednesday.
The $151 million settlement of the lawsuit covers residents and businesses in the Kanawha Valley who received tap water from West Virginia American Water’s Elk River intake plant in Charleston after the chemical MCHM spilled from a Freedom Industries tank into the river, or whose employer closed because of the spill and subsequent water system contamination — an estimated 224,000 residents and 7,300 businesses.
The lawsuit alleges West Virginia American didn’t prepare for or react properly to the spill, and that MCHM-maker Eastman Chemical didn’t warn Freedom Industries of the danger of its chemicals or react when Eastman officials found out that the Freedom facility on the Elk River was in disrepair.
Both companies blame Freedom Industries for the water crisis.
The settlement allows residential households to file a simple claim form and get $550 for the first resident and $180 for each additional resident.
Women who were pregnant on Jan. 9, 2014 and exposed to the water can file an additional claim for $1,500.
Businesses and hourly wage owners who lost income, government entities and anyone who went to to the doctor or hospital are also eligible.
Residents or businesses don’t have to have signed up with a lawyer before the settlement to be included.
At the end of January, 53,960 households and 2,275 businesses had filed a claim to be compensated.
Also, 140 government entities, 100 wage earners, 695 people who were pregnant and 51 people who had gone to the hospital or doctor had filed claims, court documents show.