Attorney - Gas leak has made homes "essentially worthless"

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Champaign, Ill (WAND) – Peoples Gas is the target of a lawsuit filed on behalf of 17 people in Champaign County.

Spiros Law contends the 17 individuals reside in six homes serviced by five drinking water wells that were contaminated by natural gas which leaked from a Peoples Gas storage facility into the Mahomet Aquifer.  Spiros Law alleges, “Their health is at issue, as are their property values.”

“Nobody’s going to live in the home where the water is so highly contaminated with gas that it’s flammable,” Attorney Matthew Duco told WAND I-TEAM reporter Doug Wolfe.  “For these clients they have so much gas in their water their homes are, we believe, are essentially worthless.”

The lawsuit goes on to allege Peoples Gas has claimed it did not know about the leak until an employee discovered gas bubbling in a puddle of water on December 6, 2016. But, according to the suit, data collected by the Illinois State Water Survey indicates a blow-out may have occurred a year earlier on October 28, 2015, that changed water levels of the aquifer by up to 50 feet in some locations.

The complaint also alleges Peoples Gas stated in a written incident report to the U.S. Department of Transportation Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, dated January 31, 2017, that there was a “pinhole” leak on “operator-controlled property” with a potential impact radius of only “139 feet.”  Spiros law has pictures of pipes with holes, one “as big as a baseball.”

WAND News requested a response from Peoples Gas.  Here is their answer:

We cannot provide any substantive comments about the lawsuit as we are just beginning our review of the complaint. What we can say is that the Illinois Department of Health has confirmed that the levels of methane we have detected in private wells do not pose a health concern. The water is safe for drinking and everyday use such as bathing and cooking. We are also offering bottled water and methane detection to affected homeowners. 

The lawsuit is seeking an award of damages, “for health exposures, property damage, financial loss for decreased property value, loss of use and enjoyment of their property, loss of quality of life, emotional distress, and punitive damages.”

Additional information can be obtained at www.MahometGasLeak.com.

 

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