Thursday, June 2, 2011

Decision in Myrtle Beach AVX Contamination Case Exonerates the Military

by Duane Craig

Well, the verdict is in related to this contamination litigation in Myrtle Beach and it bodes well for the U.S. military but not well for AVX Corp., a maker of military electronics.

The judge decided that AVX was totally responsible for the groundwater contamination on an adjacent property. AVX has maintained that the former Myrtle Beach Air Force Base was at least responsible for half the contamination since it had operations on the AVX property before AVX even got there.

But, testimony during the trial didn’t go well for AVX. An insurance company risk assessor had previously warned AVX in 1981 that up to 6,200 gallons of trichloroethylene, or TCE, were being spilled on the ground each month. There was evidence that faulty equipment regularly allowed TCE to leak and spill for many years. Then there was testimony by an AVX executive reporting the routine dumping of TCE into a ditch behind the plant. At one time the TCE in the groundwater under AVX reached an estimated 1 million parts per billion. Five parts per billion is the accepted safe level.

The contamination now extends through a 10-block area in neighborhoods northeast of the plant. Read the story here.

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