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California IN BRIEF : FRESNO : 3 Firms Sued Over Well Contamination

From Times Staff and Wire Reports

The city of Fresno filed a $650-million lawsuit against three international firms that sold the pesticide DBCP that ended up polluting city wells. The pesticide contamination has forced closure of nearly three-dozen city wells. Cleanup costs could total tens of millions of dollars. City Councilman Craig Scharton said Friday that he does not believe taxpayers should have to foot the bill for a mess created by private companies. Named in the suit, which was filed in San Francisco Superior Court, are Shell Oil, Occidental Petroleum Co., Dow Chemical and distributors of the cancer-causing pesticide that was banned in the late 1970s but is expected to remain in San Joaquin Valley ground water supplies for the next 50 to 100 years. At least two other San Joaquin Valley cities, Sanger and Kingsburg, have pending suits against the pesticide companies dating back six years.


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