The City of Lodi announced today that it has settled a lawsuit the City brought against Shell Oil Company and the Dow Chemical Co. for contaminating groundwater with TCP, an undisclosed ingredient in soil fumigants used to kill nematodes, sold by Shell and Dow for several decades in California. “Dow, Shell and several of their distributors agreed to pay the City $32 million to remove TCP from wells before water is delivered to the public,” said City Attorney Janice Magdich. “The settlement preserves the City’s ability to pursue further damages should more wells become contaminated.”
“This settlement will ensure that the parties responsible for TCP contamination, and not the innocent ratepayers in Lodi, will pay to remove TCP from the City’s water,” said City Manager Steve Schwabauer. “Although this contamination should never have happened, we are pleased that Shell and Dow have taken responsibility for the contamination and agreed to pay for the costs of removing that contamination.”
Public Works Director Charlie Swimley said “It is important to stress that the City’s domestic water supply is safe as any City wells impacted by TCP were either immediately taken off-line or were subject to water treatment systems approved by the State Water Resources Control Board. The settlement proceeds ensure that future funding is available to continue treating water at impacted wells far into the future.”
The City’s lawsuit was one of a number of such cases filed by cities and water districts throughout California. The City is represented by Miller & Axline, a Sacramento firm that has prosecuted a number of TCP cases.