The Somerset Water Department lifted a ban on drinking tap water after testing showed that contaminants in the drinking water were either very low or undetectable. The Herald News reports that the ban was issued last week after Hydrograss Technology, a landscaping company, possibly tainted the town's water supply with its hydro seeding material.
According to the Herald, Hydrograss Technology workers connected its hydroseed mix to a fire hydrant. As the hydroseed mix backed into the hydrant, it mixed in with the town's water supply contaminating it. The hydroseed mix contained fertilizer and other materials.
So far no injuries have been reported reports the Herald. However, potential plaintiffs are likely to target Hydrograss for negligence in any future lawsuits.
Generally, in a negligence claim, an injured party will want to show that someone failed to exercise reasonable care resulting in that person's injury. For example, someone wanting to sue Hydrograss for negligence may want to show that:
- Hydrograss owed the person a reasonable duty of care not to contaminate the town's drinking water supply
- Hydrograss breached that duty by carelessly hooking up its hydroseed mix to a town fire hydrant
- Drinking the water supply contaminated by Hydrograss' hydroseed mix resulted in injuries
Companies that handle potentially toxic substances have a great responsibility to act carefully. Hydrograss Technology may have failed in that responsibility when it allegedly connected its fertilizer to the Town of Somerset's water supply. However, Hydrograss should consider itself lucky that no injuries have been reported or it would have set itself up for a big lawsuit.