South-side Tucsonans mobilize for another water-pollution struggle
South-side Tucsonans mobilize for another water-pollution struggle.
Robles, who has lived in that area for most of her 55 years, is organizing an effort to gather hundreds of written legal claims alleging that water contamination is causing illness in the area — claims that could ultimately lead to a lawsuit.
Such claims and litigation are nothing new on the south side, where groundwater has been known to be tainted with cancer-causing trichloroethylene since 1981.
In both cases, the residents won financial settlements from Hughes Aircraft Co. and other parties held liable for dumping TCE into the ground as long ago as the late 1940s.
However, it wasn’t known to exist in the area’s groundwater until 2002.
At a community meeting last Monday, hundreds of residents packed a south-side ballroom to hear Robles and an attorney who won well over $100 million in various TCE legal settlements, Richard Gonzales, discuss the past and possible future legal cases.
Second, residents would have to prove that they’ve been drinking contaminated water in recent years.
In the past two weeks, the residents got potentially good news from state authorities.
On April 3, Arizona Department of Environmental Quality official William Ellett emailed Robles that the department has asked the Arizona Department of Health Services to “look into doing a health consultation for TCE and 1-4 dioxane” concerning pollution near Tucson International Airport, and examining the pollution’s possible association with cancer and lupus.
Linda Robles recounts her family health issues as she sits in her studio apartment near South Sixth Avenue and West 29th Street.