News Room

Consumers Impacted by Contaminated Water

Written on behalf of Brian S. Kabateck
February 23, 2018

America’s drinking water is growing increasingly contaminated, threatening the health of consumers living in both urban and rural communities. 63 million people in our country have been exposed to potentially dangerous water more than once over the past decade, according to news investigations, which looked at monitoring violations from the EPA.

The findings expose how 60 years of industrial dumping, farmland runoff and deteriorating pipes have wreaked havoc on local water systems and many small, poor communities can’t afford to fix the problem. The lead-tainted water disaster in Flint is not an isolated incident— millions of Americans are drinking unsafe water and don’t realize it.

There are examples of communities across the nation from large suburbs to rural farming communities which have been plagued for years with household water that’s too toxic to drink, cook with or to wash with. Residents living in some parts of California’s Central Valley, considered “America’s breadbasket”, have been told their water may be contaminated with cancer-causing chemicals such as arsenic, uranium, disinfectant by-products and nitrates.

Hundreds of thousands of people are fearful of their tap water, despite a California law passed in 2012 which recognizes that “every human being has the right to safe, clean, affordable, and accessible water adequate for human consumption, cooking, and sanitary purposes.” According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 19-million Americans get sick every year from contaminants in drinking water.

Cash strapped municipalities that are unable to overhaul water treatment systems, or the Federal Government’s failure to enforce EPA standards, have left consumers on the hook to find clean water solutions. Installing water filtration systems and buying bottled water can be cost prohibitive for low income residents. Feeling frustrated by limited options, some communities are fighting back by taking public entities to court to clean up their water supply.

Our firm filed a class action against the city of Fresno on behalf of homeowners who claim their drinking water is causing damage to their plumbing systems and may contain toxic contaminants at levels that exceed allowable limits. The lawsuit alleges that the water treatment facility which serves thousands of homes in Northeast Fresno, supplies 20 million gallons of water drawn through the Enterprise Canal. This water is softer and less mineral laden than the ground water. The suit contends that mixing the ground water and canal water caused chemical reactions that stripped the zinc lining of galvanized water pipes.

The plaintiffs believe the city of Fresno knew that the mixed water would cause the pipes to corrode, pointing out that the city hired a consultant that told them of the issue. More than 50 percent of Fresno residents rely on galvanized piping, according to the lawsuit, but the city allowed the water treatment facility to start mixing the water despite knowing about the problem.

A consumer class action is a lawsuit in state or federal court that is brought by one individual, or a few individuals, on behalf of a larger class of people similarly situated. The attorneys at Kabateck LLP have honed specialized skills in handling class action litigation for several decades. Whether the suit is for an inoperative medical device, a deceptively designed printer cartridge, or an improper accounting at the bank, our attorneys have successfully represented thousands of clients in class action or similar representative actions.