The St. Landry Parish government and the village of Cankton are suing more than 25 companies, including Chevron, Exxon Mobil and ConocoPhillips, over alleged groundwater contamination from a former 80-acre oilfield waste disposal site about 15 miles from Lafayette.

Lafayette attorney William Goodell, representing the parish and village, alleges the former Cankton Tank Farm/MAR Services oilfield waste, treatment and storage facility has and continues to contaminate groundwater around it and threatens to contaminate the Chicot Aquifer, which provides drinking water to residents of 15 parishes, including the city of Lafayette.

“The 80-acre site was used as a commercial exploration and production waste disposal site by more than 300 companies for disposal of sludge and other oilfield waste products,” the Louisiana Department of Department of Natural Resources wrote in a Dec. 4, 2003, article on its website.

The article featured a ceremony marking the end of a four-year cleanup at the site, lauded as one of DNR’s top accomplishments in 2003. Citizens, including former state Rep. Clara Baudoin, fought for nearly 10 years to have the facility shut down in the early 1990s. The site opened in the 1930s and shut down in the 1960s, only to reopen from 1980 to 1992.

Goodell said in a news release there hasn’t been a comprehensive assessment of the groundwater contamination, which is a violation of state environmental laws.

Groundwater testing at the site, the news release states, shows a “toxic stew of hazardous substances,” but DNR and Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality records show limited groundwater testing. The parish and village want a comprehensive evaluation and cleanup of the entire site and surrounding areas…

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