Apr 04, 2008

California Neighborhood Sues Over Tainted Drinking Water

Class-action lawsuit on behalf of 1,600 residents of Merced, Calif.'s Beachwood neighborhood alleges unsafe water and pollution

A class-action lawsuit filed on behalf of 1,600 homeowners in Merced, Calif.’s Beachwood neighborhood alleges the community’s drinking water is unsafe and that the water district illegally released treated sewage into a nearby creek, according to a recent CBS 47 report.

The lawsuit also claims that the neighborhood, located about 110 miles southeast of San Francisco, is unsafe because of drinking water, soil and air pollution.

“These people need to be evacuated from this neighborhood,” said Mick Marderosian, part of the team of lawyers representing Beachwood residents. “It is not an area that is livable. It’s unsafe. They should not be raising children there.”

Court documents claim that the water district illegally released treated sewage into the community’s creek two years ago to deal with a sewage system overflow.

The plant is right next to the neighborhood, but Merck insists homeowners are safe and that they aren’t hiding the project. The State Water Board, as well as the company that treats the community’s drinking water, stand by the plant.

In response, lawyers for Beachwood have taken steps to monitor the drinking water, record the community’s health problems and compare them to other neighborhoods, according to the report.