A restaurant owner, single mother, car wash operator, beauty shop owner and West Virginia lawmaker are among the plaintiffs seeking damages from Kingsport-based Eastman Chemical Co. and other defendants in a federal class-action lawsuit involving water supply contamination in Charleston, W.Va.
In addition to Eastman, the other defendants are Freedom Industries, the West Virginia-American Water Co. (WV-AWC) and Charleston resident Gary Southern, identified as a Freedom Industries consultant who sold his interest in the facility “for several million dollars.”
“Regarding the lawsuit, the suit has no merit as it pertains to Eastman,” Eastman spokeswoman Maranda Demuth responded in an email.
The lawsuit was filed as a result of the Jan. 9 discovery of a spilled coal processing chemical coming from a facility owned and operated by Freedom Industries.
The 4-methylcyclohexane methanol chemical — referred to as 4-MCHM — spilled into the Elk River upstream from the WV-AWC water treatment plant and caused an estimated 300,000 people to lose their safe water supply.
In an information document posted on Eastman’s Web site (www.eastman.com), Eastman says it has sold crude MCHM to Freedom Industries since at least 2000.For an expanded version of this article, please see Sunday's print edition or our expanded electronic edition.