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Suit calling for $5.9 billion filed against Wheatfield

Posted at 11:15 PM, Mar 26, 2017
and last updated 2017-03-26 23:15:37-04

The Town of Wheatfield and eight companies are being sued for their role in dumping and storing toxic waste, some from the Love Canal Superfund site, in a now abandoned dump on the Wheatfield- North Tonawanda border.

Right now, 67 people who live or have lived near the old Niagara Sanitation Site on Nash Road are a part of a class action lawsuit. Dozens more are expected to join within the next 30 days. 

They believe the toxic waste that was dumped in the property adjacent to them was not properly stored and spread through runoff onto their property.

The suit calls for the defendants to pay for medical expenses, property damage, and relocation. 

The neighbors apart of the suit are asking for over $5.9 billion in damages. Some believe they are sick because of their contact with the contaminants from the old dump. The lawsuit sites one neighbor who has lived on Forbes Road his whole life dealing with severe liver disease and cancer. That man also believes his children were born with birth defects because of the toxins. 

The lawsuit lists 20 toxins that were dumped at the site, including Arsenic, PAHs and PCBs. 

The law firm hired a chemical expert to test the homes, they said they found high levels of dioxin. Dioxins cause cancer according to the World Health Organization. 

The DEC says they will investigate the site of the old dump and its immediate perimeter, this year, to see if it is possible that toxins spread to the neighborhood. 

In 2015, the DEC said the area represents “a significant threat to the environment and public health.” It said there was not enough signage or fencing marking the area.

The Town of Wheatfield just agreed to put up a fence around the site with help from the state.

Town Supervisor Robert Cliffe, says "nothing has come to his attention" yet in regards to a lawsuit against the town. 

The lawyers representing the neighbors say they hope this lawsuit can protect the community and eliminate the danger.