WASA Pushes Judge to Reject Lawsuit Regarding Lead Contamination

May 14, 2004

The D.C. Water and Sewer Authority is urging a Superior Court judge to reject a lawsuit brought against the agency because of the agency's poor management of lead contamination in the drinking water in the D.C. area, the Washington Post reported.

WASA attorneys already have argued in a lengthy court briefing that the agency already has taken numerous steps to protect public health and that a court order would just impose unnecessary costs, the Post continued.

The lawsuit in question was filed two months ago on behalf of two families who live in the affected area. The suit asks the court to order WASA to take immediate steps to protect the city residents from lead contamination.

WASA has already issued 27,000 filters to homes determined to house the most vulnerable populations, and an additional 22,000 homes are being tested to determine if the water has excessive lead levels.

The agency's attorneys said that for WASA to provide lead tests and water filters to all of the 345,000 households in the company's service area would cost $8 million and could raise each resident's water bill by as much as $60 per month, the Post reported.

Lawyers from Paul, Hastings, Janofsky & Walker, the law firm representing the plaintiffs, counter that WASA must prove that homes do not have excessive lead levels before the households can be denied filters, and that the burden of proof lies on WASA, not on the residents themselves.

Source: The Washington Post