U.S. Water News Online
MINDEN, Nev. -- A month-long trial has been scheduled --
for March 2006 -- on a claim by Settelmeyer Ranches Inc. that Bently
Nevada Corp. dumped toxic solvents and other contaminants that got
into groundwater under Settelmeyer land in the Carson Valley.
Attorney Tom Drendel, representing the Settelmeyers, filed suit in
January 2003, alleging that Bently has stored and disposed of various
types of toxic solvents and wastewater sludge at a manufacturing site
near the Douglas County airport and Settelmeyer land since 1961.
The lawsuit also alleges that several spills or discharges of TCE,
a degreasing solvent that's considered "a probable human carcinogen,"
occurred at the Bently site between 1961 and 1986, and the state
Division of Environmental Protection sued Bently over the
Drendel also claimed water samples taken from Settelmeyer Ranch
wells revealed evidence of TCE and other solvent contamination, and
additional testing showed evidence of a plume of contaminants
extending from the Bently property to the ranch land.
Because of the contamination, groundwater under the Settelmeyer
land can't be used for drinking or even for irrigation, the lawsuit
Attorney Bill Shaw, representing Bently, now known as Bently
Pressurized Bearing Co., filed a response last May to the complaint
denying the allegations and contending the Settelmeyers waited too
long to bring their claims.
Shaw also said the Settelmeyers have been aware of the alleged
contamination since at least 1991 and are "contributorily negligent"
because they've continued to use water sources they allege to be
The lawyer also said if any contaminants were dumped, it was done
by someone else not named in the lawsuit "over whom defendants
(Bently) exercised no control."
District Judge Michael Gibbons scheduled the trial to start March
21, 2006. A court spokesman said attorneys involved in the case
needed a four-week time slot that didn't conflict with other cases,
and the 2006 date was the first available.
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