The state of New Jersey wants two companies accused of polluting the groundwater in a Bergen County borough to answer a question: what’s the value of a glass of clean drinking water?
That question was posed in the form of a civil suit filed earlier this month, holding the companies accountable and seeking money for the harm done to the ecosystem, which has left residents in Lodi, New Jersey with contaminated groundwater.
It’s a legal tool that environmental health experts say should be used more often as state governments seek ways to reduce pollution in frontline communities that are hard hit with environmental hazards.
It’s a good way to address the broader harms inflicted on a community when groundwater is polluted and suffers a devaluation, said environmental health scientist Sacoby Wilson, an associate professor at the University of Maryland where he serves as director of the Center for Community Engagement, Environmental Justice and Health.
“If you do not have safe water, it basically is a way that kills, destroys communities,” said Wilson, noting how polluted water can hinder economic growth by dissuading bu... Read more