KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — Knox County will receive a portion of a $500-million-dollar lawsuit settlement relating to the chemical contamination of waterways.
Knox County Mayor Glenn Jacobs’ Office announced Tuesday that the county has been awarded $2 million due to polychlorinated biphenyls or PCBs chemical contamination of Fort Loudon Reservoir and Lower Clinch Reservoir.
“A class action lawsuit against Monsanto, a company responsible for PCB contamination decades ago, has reached a settlement with over $500 million going to several municipalities participating in the Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System (MS4) program where creek and/or lake sediment has been contaminated.”Release from the Office of Knox County Mayor Glenn Jacobs
The millions received by the county are planned to go toward “the protection of local waterways and the mitigation and monitoring of PCBs.”
Knox County has established its Stormwater Fund for the money to be used on education, monitoring, and implementation of projects to protect local waterways.
“We are excited about the opportunities this money gives us to protect our waterways and our citizens. We were contaminated through no fault of our own, but are determined to fix the problem,” Knox County Engineering and Public Works Director Jim Snowden said.
The Monsanto Company is an American agrichemical, agricultural biotechnology corporation that was founded in 1901 in Missouri.
The Environmental Protection Agency has multitudes of information and studies on the effects of PCBs, which are a group of man-made organic chemicals that consist of carbon, hydrogen, and chlorine atoms that belong to a broad family of chemicals known as chlorinated hydrocarbons. PCBs were domestically manufactured from 1929 until this was banned in 1979 by the Toxic Substances Control Act, according to the EPA.
PCBs were used in hundreds of industrial and commercial applications. Production was banned in 1979, but EPAs regulations allowed for some inadvertent generation of PCBs in other, excluded manufacturing processes.
PCBs can still be released into the environment from a number of incidences, including poorly maintained hazardous waste sites containing PCBs, illegal or improper dumping for PCB wastes, leaks to releases from electrical transformers containing PCBs and more.
The chemicals have been demonstrated to cause a variety of health effects in humans and animals, according to the EPA. Known health effects of PCBs include cancer, as well as non-cancer effects on the immune system, reproductive system, nervous system, endocrine system and others.
More information on PCBs can be found here.