In a process expected to cost over $2 million and last about 50 days, the Environmental Protection Agency will remove 3,600 cubic yards of contaminated soil from the site of a former electroplating factory in Doylestown, Pennsylvania. However, the funding has not yet been secured and a date to begin the project has not been set.
The removal project spurs another question -- not only is the contamination still there, but how did it affect the workers at that plant? The water is contaminated with trichloroethylene (TCE), which can cause liver, kidney and lung cancer if inhaled or ingested. For the workers at this plant, then, they were exposed to this carcinogen, which could then result in what is called an occupational disease.
According to an article about the project in the Philly Burbs news, the factory was cited several times for spills and for releasing industrial waste since the 1960s. Additionally, the EPA found that the groundwater near the site is contaminated, and bottled water has been delivered by the agency to residents and businesses in that area.
Class-action suits are often associated with situations like this one, and this will certainly not be the last we hear of this plant.
For workers who have been exposed to toxic agents in the workplace, there are legal options to pursue. In addition to workers' compensation, there may be additional opportunities for financial compensation. In a case like this one, medical bills can begin to pile up due to the need for treatment, and where the exposures seem to be very serious, there may be a potential for pursuing a lawsuit for negligence on the part of the employer.
Source: PhillyBurbs, "EPA will remove contaminated soil from site in Doylestown," Christina Kristofic, Jan. 7, 2013