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Whirlpool Reaches Agreement in Class Action Lawsuit with Fort Smith Homeowners

FORT SMITH -- Whirlpool says they've reached a resolution with property owners in Fort Smith over contaminated groundwater near the company's manufacturing plant.
FORT SMITH -- Whirlpool says they've reached a resolution with property owners in Fort Smith over contaminated groundwater near the company's manufacturing plant.

In a statement Thursday, Whirlpool outlined the terms of compensation for the residents and their goals to clean up the area.

Whirlpool has a website http://www.whirlpoolfortsmith.com/, where the company post will developments and updates will continue to be shared with the community.

Resolution Details:

· The agreement covers current owners of property devalued in 2013 by the County Tax Assessor for tax assessment purposes as a result of groundwater contamination from trichlorethylene (TCE) released at the former Whirlpool manufacturing facility in Fort Smith, as well as some properties near the facility whose tax value assessment did not change.

· Property owners inside the area bounded by Ingersoll Ave, Brazil Ave., Jenny Lind Rd., and Ferguson St. will receive either an amount equal to the devaluation estimated by the County assessor or the devaluation as determined by an independent property appraiser.

· Class members outside this area will receive $5,000, and possibly more in the future, if TCE is detected above threshold levels in groundwater beneath their property.

· Property owners agree to allow access to their property for testing and remediation activities, record a deed restriction prohibiting new wells on their property, and release Whirlpool from property damage claims.

· Each class member will receive formal notice of the resolution, as well as an opportunity to opt out of the agreement.

· A federal Court will be required to approve the agreement.

· Whirlpool has agreed to pay court approved fees and costs incurred by the class members.

Fort Smith's City Administrator Ray Gosack released a statement following the settlement, calling the agreement a "positive development that helps property owners move forward."

Gosack continued, "Mayor Sanders and the board of directors have worked diligently on keeping the public engaged in this issue. In Whirlpool’s announcement, the company acknowledges the board’s work in addressing remediation and development activities."

On Tuesday the mayor is holding a meeting with representatives of Whirlpool and The Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality. That meeting is open to the public.

Tuesday, July 8
6:00 p.m.
Senior Activity Center
2700 Cavanaugh Rd


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