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Expert witness calls Madison Kipp pollutant levels 'shocking'

Published On: Mar 26 2013 10:08:59 PM CDT
Updated On: Mar 27 2013 06:40:10 AM CDT
MADISON, Wis. -

Lawyers for an east side neighborhood suing Madison Kipp Corporation introduced new evidence that calls the plant's pollutant levels "shocking."

Kipp recently filed a motion to stop the suit, calling the contamination minor. But attorneys for the neighborhood group said the new data suggests the contamination is worse than ever.

A Chicago law firm provided WISC-TV with 67 pages of evidence, which it said is proof that pollutants poisoned the Atwood neighborhood. The group is suing Kipp on allegations that the company contaminated the ground and its water with chemicals it used until 1989.

Twenty years later, the DNR said there are "elevated" levels of the carcinogen PCE under several homes.

According to the law firm's key witness, Dr. Lorne G. Everette, samples taken in December had levels at least 340 times above the federal limit, more than three times what was reported when those neighbors filed the lawsuit four years ago.

In his just-released deposition, the hydrogeologist said it was one of the most contaminated sites he's ever worked with.

The new data, he said, suggests the pollution extends well beyond Kipp's property. Citing the ongoing case, neither Everett nor the lawyers would speak with WISC-TV on camera.

Instead, they provided WISC-TV with the brief, asking a judge to deny Kipp's recent request to the end the case.

In response, Kipp’s Human Services Vice President Mark Meunier said by phone that he "firmly disagrees with the plaintiffs' characterization" and said that Kipp is "working with the DNR and Department of Health to respond in an appropriate and responsible manner."

Two years ago, the company installed systems to remove the harmful vapors.

Kipp also refused an interview with WISC-TV on camera.

It could take a judge several months to sort through the thousands of documents from both sides and decide on the motion. For now, the case is set for an August trial in a Dane County federal courtroom.

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