Fresh water is one of earth’s most essential yet limited resources. Global warming and changes in weather patterns have disrupted the natural water cycle, making fresh water a precious commodity. Fresh water resources that become contaminated because of pollution, oil spills, fertilizers and pesticides, sewage, lead and mercury, or chemical waste are a serious threat to humans and the environment. Contaminated water can cause diseases such as cancer and related blood disorders, declining property values, and loss of crops and wildlife.
Federal and state laws have made it possible for those affected by contaminated water to hold polluters liable for their damages. Our team of environmental toxic tort lawyers at Williams Cuker Berezofsky is committed to helping victims of contaminated water seek justice and claim the compensation they are entitled to under the law. We advocate for those who have suffered injury, sickness, or financial losses from water contamination while focusing our efforts on ending harmful water pollution.
Water can become contaminated by a variety of sources. Direct sources of contamination can be traced to waste water from manufacturing facilities, or chemical pollutants released into the environment. Other sources include irresponsible citizens that dump harmful substances down storm drains, toilets, or sinks. Indirect sources of water contamination may occur from storm water runoff, industrial waste water runoff, agricultural runoff carrying pesticides and fertilizer, or from water that travels from one polluted source to another.
Chemicals commonly found in contaminated water include:
Contaminated water can cause health effects ranging from skin rashes to cancer depending upon the nature of the contaminants and the manner and duration of the exposure. Exposure to the contaminated water can occur through drinking, cooking, bathing, or breathing in vapors. The stronger the chemical compound and the longer the exposure, the higher the risk for serious health problems. Environmental researchers estimate that approximately 900,000 people are sickened by contaminated water each year.
Minimal exposure to storm runoff or other mild contaminants can result in nausea, diarrhea, headache, and fever. Bronchial and throat irritation, sinus infections, and allergic reactions such as asthma, skin rashes, and hives can result from contaminated water coming into contact with skin or the respiratory tract. Long term exposure to harsh chemicals or heavy metals can lead to cancer, heart disease, diabetic complications, immune deficiency, neurological impairment, developmental disabilities, and reproductive damage.
Standards for clean water are established by the federal Clean Water Act (CWA) and Superfund laws, and enforced by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Aided by other federal and local agencies, the EPA is tasked with investigating individuals and companies suspected of contaminating fresh water supplies and hold responsible parties liable for damages. These agencies also have the authority to mandate the company clean up the contamination, or pay professionals to clean the area and restore the supply of fresh water.
The CWA makes it possible for citizens exposed to or affected by contaminated water to file suit in federal court to stop ongoing violations. Private citizens can petition the court to put a stop order against a business or other private citizen that is in violation of federal or state laws while pursuing a lawsuit. Civil penalties, court costs, and lawyers’ fees can be recovered in the lawsuit. The EPA can also charge businesses in violation of clean water laws and back private lawsuits that aim to stop illegal activity.
Many private citizens may find it difficult to go up against large corporations and businesses that have teams of legal firms at their disposal. Proving liability in a contaminated water suit is not always easy. An experienced and reliable environmental lawyer can ensure that your rights to clean water are being protected, and that damages or property valuations affected by the contaminated water are compensated fairly.
If you or someone you know has suffered an illness or otherwise been affected by contaminated water, the Pennsylvania water contamination lawyers at Williams Cuker Berezofsky can help you claim the justice and compensation you are entitled to under the law. Call us in Philadelphia at 215-557-0099, or in New Jersey at 856-667-0500, or contact us online to schedule a consultation today. We proudly serve clients nationwide.