A group of residents living near the current ConocoPhillips refinery has filed suit against the former owners, Shell Oil Company, and is asking for medical monitoring to diagnose illnesses that may be caused by groundwater contamination. Shell and BP Products North America are the primary targets of the suit filed recently in Madison County Court.
The residents want monitoring to take place because they say there are ongoing fluctuations in groundwater levels, which then impacts the underground pool of benzene and other contaminants that have been released into the ground in the past. The plaintiffs fear future health problems as a result of the alleged contamination and want the medical monitoring to help with potential early treatment of any illnesses. While none of those filing the suit are currently claiming to be sick, several previous suits have alleged the contamination has caused blood cancers in some victims. The current suit focuses on the need for medical monitoring, but also alleges the problems that some residents have with decreased property values, and the overall negative view of Roxana and South Roxana which is hampering growth. ConocoPhillps and URS Corp. have also been named in the suit in order to obtain information.