CHARLESTON – Residents and businesses affected by the 2014 water crisis can now file claims to receive their share of a settlement of more than $150 million.
Notices about the settlement were sent in the mail this week, as well as separate notices that were e-mailed to certain West Virginia Water Company customers.
Claims can be filed either online or by paper, copies of which can be downloaded from the settlement website. The deadline for filing claims is Feb. 21.
Under the settlement, which was approved by District Judge John T. Copenhaver Jr., residential households can file a simple claim form and obtain a flat payment of $550 for the first resident and $180 for each additional resident.
With more detailed information and proof of purchase on a separate form, residents can also receive payment for bottled water and other expenditures pertaining to the water crisis.
Businesses can also obtain either flat payments based on their size or submit detailed information for other losses.
Women who were pregnant at the time of the chemical spill can also receive additional payments in the settlement.
The class covered by the lawsuit includes approximately 224,000 residents and 7,300 businesses, including anyone who received water their tap water from the Elk River intake plant and any person whose employer closed because of the spill.
Distribution of the settlement funds will not begin until after the Feb. 21 deadline and after Copenhaver gives his final approval on the settlement. Class members who want to opt-out of the settlement must object by Dec. 8.
Under the settlement, residential households will be able to file a claim and obtain $550 for the first resident and $180 for each additional resident. For specific losses, claims can be filed if the class member has proof of the loss.
In 2016, a tentative settlement was reached and agreed that West Virginia American Water would pay $126 million, while Eastman Chemical would pay $25 million.
Nine counties in West Virginia were affected by the water contamination when the spill occurred in January 2014. A tank at Freedom Industries had leaked MCHM into the river.
Six of Freedom’s top officials plead guilty to criminal Clean Water Act violations related to the chemical spill.
For more information, go to www.wvwaterclaims.com or call 1-855-829-8121.
U.S. District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia case number: 2:14-cv-01374