WVSU sues Dow over water pollution at Institute campus

Gazette-Mail file photo: West Virginia State University President Anthony Jenkins.

West Virginia State University has sued Dow Chemical and former operators of the Institute chemical plant, alleging that the facility has contaminated the groundwater under the university’s campus. University officials insist the contamination poses no health risks — the campus does not use groundwater for its drinking water. It says the pollution threatens campus development plans and, once made public, now harms State’s local and national reputation.

The lawsuit, filed Thursday in Kanawha Circuit Court, seeks to force the companies to clean up the contamination, prevent future migration of the chemicals and compensate the university, a historically black institution, for harm to its image in the public and potential students. During an afternoon news conference on campus, West Virginia State President Anthony Jenkins said all efforts to convince Dow to resolve the matter have failed but that he hopes the filing of the lawsuit will change that.

“It is my hope that Dow will come to the table and take full responsibility for the mess it created,” Jenkins told reporters. The legal complaint, filed by attorneys Sam Hrko and Steve Ruby of the firm Bailey and Glasser […]

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