Halliburton Offers Settlements Over Chemical in Wells to Property Owners

October 7, 2015

Halliburton is offering settlements to dozens of property owners after a chemical compound called ammonium perchlorate showed up in residents’ private wells.

The company has offered settlements to 130 plaintiffs involving more than 80 properties in Duncan. As of Oct. 1, 83 plaintiffs representing 56 properties have agreed in principle to the settlement, the Oklahoman reported.

Houston-based Halliburton declined to comment on the settlements because several lawsuits are still ongoing.

Perchlorate is used in munitions and fireworks and is highly soluble in water, which means it can spread through groundwater if it gets into the soil.

According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, perchlorate has been known has been to cause thyroid disease and the chemical is regulated under the Safe Drinking Water Act.

Halliburton also has purchased many homes with wells where high perchlorate levels were found.

In 2011, Halliburton disclosed that it had found ammonium perchlorate in residential water wells around its closed plant in north Duncan, where the company had carried out Cold War-era defense contract work to clean fuel from spent missile casings. Ash from the burned rocket-fuel waste was stored in an evaporation pond on the site that was unlined until the late 1980s, records show.

It entered that year into an agreement with the Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality to clean up the perchlorate. Efforts to monitor the groundwater and develop a plan for cleanup also have begun, DEQ spokeswoman Erin Hatfield said.

Residents filed several lawsuits against Halliburton, claiming the company knew about the contamination at Osage Road for years but failed to warn residents or conduct adequate water testing.

The company said in a 2012 regulatory filing that it had spent more than $25 million in its initial response to the problems. It has not disclosed since that time how much the cleanup and legal settlements have cost.

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