Landowners to take legal action against Prime Tanning over sludge18 December 2009
Lawsuits were filed on December 17, on behalf of 24 plaintiffs against Prime Tanning Corporation of St Joseph, Missouri and three affiliated businesses over fertilizers they spread on farms in Northwest Missouri.This is the latest set-back for National Beef Leathers the current owners of the former Prime Tanning site which have so far successfully fought-off other legal challenges earlier this year.
The lawsuits were filed at the Buchanan County Court House and represented 17 Buchanan County landowners, one Clinton County landowner (Stewartsville) and six DeKalb County Landowners (Amity and Clarksdale).
Allegations in the suit claim high levels of hexavalent chromium in the fertilizer have caused land values to plummet and possibly put landowners' health at risk noting that hexavalent chromium is a known carcinogen.
The civil suits attempt to seek $25,000 damages for each of the four counts of negligence and nuisance alleged in the lawsuit for the landowners. Prime Tanning has denied wrongdoing in the past but admits and has paperwork showing that vast quantities of the sludge-like fertilizer was spread on fields between St. Joseph and western Clinton and DeKalb counties since the mid 80's.
The EPA has tested multiple sites in the affected areas but has maintained that levels of hexavalent chromium, while elevated, did not pose a health hazard.
So far this year National Beef Leathers the owners of the former Prime Tanning site in St Joseph have successfully fought against legal action taken out by local residents situated near the land where the sludge was spread. Additionally, a former employee for Prime Tanning also claimed that barrels of chemicals had been buried on or near the site, however, searches of the area found nothing.