County Settles with Goshen Families
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pipeline to connect the Bartley, Cockburn and Dolichni families, who live on Police Drive, to the Village of Goshen’s water supply, Orange County spokesman Justin Rodriguez said Thursday. The Entenmann’s Bakery Outlet, on the same road, will also have the opportunity to tap into the new water source, Rodriguez said.
The families filed a multi-million dollar lawsuit in 2007 against both the county and the Town of Goshen, and the two municipalities wrangled over blame for fouling the wells with methyl tertiary-butyl ether, or MTBE, a known carcinogen.
A state Supreme Court judge ruled in March that Orange County was solely responsible for the contamination, which was discovered by accident roughly 10 years ago when the town police department was installing a new water softener on its well.
Since that time, the families have been using bottled water for drinking and cooking but the polluted water for everything else, including showering.
Family members and their pets have suffered from cancers and other illnesses as a result of the contamination, according to lawyers with the South Nyack firm of Feerick Lynch MacCartney, which represented them in the lawsuit.
“I think nothing can fully compensate these families for what they’ve been through, but this is the fairest settlement that realistically could be achieved at this time,” attorney Dennis Lynch said, adding that his team spent almost 2,000 hours on the case and went through 22 depositions.
“Prior to 2014, the County had refused to take action to supply a permanent drinking water source to the affected families,” Rodriguez said. Even after January 2014, when Orange County Executive Steve Neuhaus took office, connecting the families to a new water source hit a number of snags.
The new hookup is expected to be completed by mid-February, weather-permitting, Rodriguez said.
“I met with these families and promised to try and work out a solution for them,” Neuhaus said in a statement. “As a father and husband, I know the value of clean water to families. I’m certainly happy to have this case resolved for them.”