Parkersburg’s Plight: Mid-Ohio Valley’s message to Cape Fear community about water threat

PARKERSBURG, WV (WWAY) — Seventeen years after a group of 12 men and women filed a class action lawsuit against DuPont over the dumping of a chemical compound called C8, the fight continues in Parkersburg, WV.

While several water systems now have carbon filters that remove C8, it’s still in some drinking water.

In places like Parkersburg, where C8 was never considered high enough to be dangerous, people still consume the chemical everyday.

Over the years, DuPont and its spinoff company Chemours have paid millions in fines, they’ve lost multiple civil lawsuits and been forced to stop using C8, which has since been replaced with GenX.

Some, however, say it’s not enough.

Parkersburg’s Plight: WWAY anchor goes home to town where GenX predecessor tainted water

“These CEOs knew this,” said Joe Kiger, who started the legal fight against DuPont and still speaks out against the company. “They knew what was going on. Somebody needs to answer.”

“They should be charged with a crime,” said Harry Deitzler, one of the lawyers who represented the plaintiffs in the 2001 class action lawsuit.

While criminal charges have never been filed in Parkersburg, Kiger says there’s no reason to not demand it in the Cape Fear area.

“I pray to God the people of the Cape Fear and Wilmington area take a look at this and don’t quit,” he said “Keep going. They’ve done this to you and your community, and it’s not right. You’ve got to make them accountable for their actions. And that’s what we’ve got to do.”

Parkersburg’s Plight: Chemical similar to Genx found to make people sick

Kiger, Deitzler, Dr. Paul Brooks, Jack Cottrell and Ginny Cottrell say they all hope the Wilmington community uses what happened in Parkersburg as a playbook, to see what can be done and how to do it.

“They have to move forward and get their answers,” said Ginny Cottrell. “If they have to go forward with a class action, or whatever,  they’re dealing with a very dangerous chemical and the evidence of that is all throughout Parkersburg, Little Hocking and Belpre.”

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