State Settles Federal Lawsuit on Vista View/Chisholm TCE Contamination

There are new developments in the battle over how and when to clean up the water contamination in the Vista View and Chisholm neighborhoods.

Attorneys for homeowners told U.S. District Court Judge Ira DeMent today they've hammered out a settlement with the state to clean up the cancer causing chemical from underneath 300 plus homes in the area.

The agreement will speed up just how fast the Department of Transportation and the Department of Environmental Management will work to get TCE out of the ground in the neighborhood.

It is the first time the state's talked about cleaning up the trichloroethylene that's seeped into surface water in ditches and low lying areas around the Vista View neighborhoods. Earlier this year, officials built a fence around the ditch where surface contamination was first found.

Lawyers for people living in Vista View say the agreement has four major parts to it.

It speeds how fast the state will move on cleaning up the chemical. It sets up a timetable for testing and to figure out how to do the cleanup. It calls for an outside consultant to review the plan, and finally, it puts the cleanup under federal court supervision.

Both sides say this agreement is a done deal. All that's left is for DOT, the attorney general, and the governor to sign off.  That should be done by next week.

The agreement will have little impact on the civil lawsuit against ADEM, DOT and Alfa Realty.

The DOT's attorney says this agreement contains says nothing about admitting who is guilty of causing the spill, and no one is accepting responsibility for the TCE, so that part of the case will go on in state court to see if homeowners can claim damages.

Crews will be out drilling wells to test the water in the area shortly after the agreement is signed and the clean up should start within a year.

The total cost will depend on just how much contamination is found.