PINEVILLE – Two lawsuits have been filed against Dynamic Energy Inc. after they claim it contaminated their well water to the point it is no longer safe for human consumption.
Mechel Bluestone Inc. was also named as a defendant in the suits.
Bobby Kennedy and Rebecca Kennedy; and Elvis Walker, Tammy Hatfield, Joshua Hatfield and Jeremy Hatfield depend on their water well for all of their domestic needs, including drinking, bathing, cooking, cleaning and laundry, according to two complaints filed in Wyoming Circuit Court.
The plaintiffs claim up until recently, their water wells produced abundant, clean, fresh water sufficient in quality and quantity to meet all of their domestic needs.
At some point after Dynamic began operating atop Coal Mountain, the plaintiffs began to notice a gradual degradation in the quality of water coming from their wells, according to the suits. Then, the plaintiffs also began to notice a discoloration and rotten egg smell emanating from their water.
The plaintiffs claim that, at this point, they were not able to relate the degradation, discoloration and odor to the conduct, acts or omissions of the defendants and the odor, taste and appearance of their well water continued to degrade to the point that they were concerned about the safety of the water.
A series of water test results in 2014 confirmed that the water was not safe for human consumption because of high concentrations of heavy metals and hydrogen sulfide, according to the suits.
The plaintiffs claim it was not until earlier this year that they realized that the defendants were the cause of the degradation, discoloration, odor and contamination of the water supply.
On July 31, the plaintiffs provided notice to the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protections of the well water contamination and requested emergency water within 24 hours from Dynamic Energy, but Dynamic has not provided emergency temporary water to the plaintiffs, according to the suits.
The plaintiffs claim the defendants’ conduct caused them damages to their personal property.
The plaintiffs are seeking compensatory and punitive damages with pre- and post-judgment interest. They are being represented by Kevin W. Thompson and David R. Barney Jr. of Thompson Barney.
About a dozen similar lawsuits have been filed since 2013 against Dynamic and Mechel for water contamination.
Wyoming Circuit Court case numbers: 15-C-212, 15-C-213