Geneva Contamination Leads to Residents Pursuing Legal Action

Residents who share their Geneva, NY neighborhood with the former Geneva Foundry are fed up with the lack of government response to the news of toxic metal contamination in their soil. In January, 136 people — more may be added in the future — filed notices of claim against the state, city, and Ontario County regarding their exposure to the deadly substances.

This move lets the government know a full lawsuit may be right around the corner if a settlement isn’t reached. A future class action lawsuit is also a possibility.

The 136 people who filed claims accuse the state, city, and county of knowing about the lead and arsenic contamination, but failing to inform residents about the state of the soil. In their notices, residences claim state officials “intentionally concealed” the harmful risks linked to the unsafe levels of lead found in soil samples.

Instead, residents were not informed of the soil contamination and subsequent health risks until the fall of 2016. Many claimants believe they’re suffering from health conditions caused from exposure or live in fear they’ll develop health issues in the future.

Toxicity of Former Geneva Foundry Site Revealed

In October 2016, results of soil testing in neighborhoods surrounding the former Geneva Foundry site were released. Many of the sites sampled had levels of lead and arsenic that exceeded State Soil Cleanup Objectives (SCOs).

While the Geneva Foundry was demolished in 2005, the damage from its 120 years of operation — 1868 to 1988 — lives on. Now that residents are aware of the extent of the damage, they’re anxious for cleanup efforts to begin. In December, New York state environmental officials said cleanup is scheduled to begin in 2017 and will continue for three years. The initiative was previously slated to be drawn out over a five-to-10-year time period.

In total, the contaminated area contains more than 100 homes and businesses. The Department of Environmental Conservation expects the cleanup to cost $17 million — at minimum.

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