Engineering firm agree tannery waste settlement

6 March 2012

Kansas City-based Burns & McDonnell Engineering have agreed to pay a $10 million settlement in a suit alleging that the former St Joseph-based Prime Tanning, a tannery to which Burns & McDonnell was a technical consultant, allegedly provided Northwest Missouri farmers with a fertilizer containing hexavalent chromium, a known carcinogen. Burns & McDonnell agreed to pay the $10 million settlement to 18 families listed as plaintiffs to the suit.

Kansas City-based Wagstaff & Cartmell filed the class action lawsuit in 2009, including farms in Buchanan, Clinton, DeKalb, and Andrew counties.  The suit covers those areas from 1983 through the early part of 2009.

The engineering company refused to admit to any wrongdoing. According to a press release issued by attorneys for the plaintiffs, Burns & McDonnell continue ‘to deny it caused harm to any property.’

Previous legal hearings in the case had all found in favour of Prime Tanning (which has subsequently gone into administration) and no link between the tannery, hexavalent chromium and illness to local residents has been legally substantiated.

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