An oil company is facing a lawsuit in Clark County Circuit Court due to an alleged contaminant plume.

An oil company is facing a lawsuit in Clark County Circuit Court due to an alleged contaminant plume.
Residents of a property southwest of Amity’s West Thompson Street are seeking damages from Deaton Oil Company, LLC for negligent handling of a petroleum product. The company, an Arkansas limited liability corporation owned Varner’s Service Station until it closed in 2013. It was at the establishment’s 118 W. Thompson St. address that the incident reportedly occurred.
According to the suit, the company had storage tanks installed and operated for the purpose of petroleum product storage and sales. This included gasoline, diesel, and other products. The site’s tank system included pipes, vents, lines, hoses, and nozzles for receiving and dispensing.
Between 2003 and 2010, the Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality reported that the establishment had four spills/releases. They occurred on March 26 and Sept. 24 in 2003 and May 27 and Nov. 16 in 2010.
The suit further alleges that the May incident has seen a variety of investigations ever since, the most recent of which was this past July. This happening saw the plaintiff’s property having monitoring wells drilled.
Evidence of the petroleum releases’ presence on the victims’ property was proven through analysis of groundwater samples. It included benzene and gasoline and diesel range organics. Reportedly, the full extent of the plume’s range is unknown. However, it does appear to have gone beneath the residence.
The contamination has been so severe that a water well is no longer useful and several trees, including one of the state’s oldest Magnolias, are seemingly dying or dead.
Because of these actions, the plaintiff’s contend that they “live above a plume of toxic substances, and thus experience the accompanying fears, fright, concern, inconvenience, annoyance, discomfort and mental distress associated with living above a contaminant plume.”
Although the family residing at the residence had plans to remodel it, the contaminant situation has halted the process. The plaintiffs are also saying that the defendant has not complied with Arkansas Solid Waste Management laws.
As a result, the victims are seeking damages for repair and restoration expenses, the difference in the fair market value of their property before and immediately after the spill, loss of use and enjoyment and deprivation of the property’s true worth and value, discomfort, annoyance, disruption, inconvenience, loss of peace of mind, fear, and fright and punitive or exemplary damages.
As noted in the suit, the plaintiffs are accusing Deaton Oil Company, LLC of having known, or should of known what would happen. From this, they have stated that “malice may be inferred.”
The defendants have not yet issued a response to the allegations.