Lawsuit: Northrop Grumman knew chemical contaminated homes

September 29, 2021 GMT

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (AP) — Defense company Northrop Grumman knew for more than a decade that chemicals from a site it owns near the Springfield-Branson Airport were contaminating groundwater in surrounding property, according to a federal lawsuit filed Wednesday.

The lawsuit claims Northrop Grumman, which is based in Virginia, did not notify residents their groundwater may be contain trichloroethylene, or TCE, which causes cancer.

The contamination came to light only after TCE was detected near the Fantastic Caverns tourist site near Springfield in 2018, according to the lawsuit.

The lawsuit was filed on behalf of two Springfield families who said the contamination made their land and businesses “worthless” and led to health problems. Attorneys from Peiffer Wolf Carr Kane & Conway are seeking class action certification to represent other affected families.

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Vic Beck, a spokesman for Northrop Grumman said the company had not yet seen the lawsuit. He said the company has worked closely with the Missouri Department of Natural Resources and the community for 20 years to address environmental concerns at the site.

The property was previously owned by Litton Industries, which used TCE to manufacture circuit boards. Northrup Grumman bought the site in 2001 and knew at the time about the contamination, according to the lawsuit.