Attorney General Jay Nixon filed a lawsuit in federal court Monday accusing FAG Bearing of Joplin of contaminating the environment and asking that the company reimburse the state for the money it has spent and will spend to make drinking water safe in Silver Creek.
In the lawsuit, filed in U. S. District Court for the Western District of Missouri, Nixon, representing the Missouri Department of Natural Resources, says drinking water in Silver Creek was polluted by trichlomethylene (TCE) used by FAG Bearing between 1977 and 1982. "TCE was used as a degreaser in the ball bearing manufacturing operation within a self-contained distillation unit which operated in a closed loop system," the lawsuit said.
Its presence in Silver Creek wells was confirmed when the wells were sampled by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in December 1991, according to the lawsuit. The EPA had already signed an action memorandum on Aug. 14, 1991, initiating a bottled water program for Silver Creek residents. Permanent public drinking water systems later had to be installed for Silver Creek and nearby Saginaw, the lawsuit said.
In June and July 1992, the MDNR installed four groundwater monitoring wells at FAG Bearings, the lawsuit said. Three of the wells showed TCE contamination.