Lawsuit claims GM contaminated water for decades, tried to cover it up
Hood of the Detroit-based Clark Hill law firm and Alexander Memmen of the Chicago-based Memmen law firm, on behalf of six named residents and "numerous" unnamed others, whose water supply was allegedly contaminated by GM.
The alleged source of the contamination, which includes high levels of sodium and chloride, is the Milford Proving Grounds, a 4,011-acre vehicle testing facilities that borders Livingston and Oakland counties.
Opened in 1924, the Proving Grounds contains more than 100 miles of roads, "numerous parking lots," and more than 150 buildings, according to the lawsuit.
Prolonged exposure to unsafe amounts of sodium and chloride can have a negative effect on liver and kidney, as well as causing hypertension and high blood pressure, according to the Environmental Protection Agency.
According to the lawsuit, GM conducted a water supply study in 1985 and knew there were issues with high chloride levels in on-site water sources.
The lawsuit says the MDEQ learned of the issue in 1997, when they were notified of high chloride levels by a developer who detected the contamination while digging wells for a new neighborhood to the southwest of the GM facility.
MDEQ notified the developer in a letter that the high levels didn’t appear to be the result of natural occurrences, and said it was likely coming from a source to the northeast, which is the location of the Proving Grounds.
The MDEQ deemed the Proving Grounds a contaminated facility in 2000, prompting GM to file a civil action against the MDEQ.
The lawsuit says the company didn’t "come clean" about it’s impact and knowledge of the water contamination until three years ago.