Belleville property owner sues over contaminated soil

Kelly Holleran Nov. 2, 2011, 8:36am

A woman claims a man dumped gasoline-contaminated soil on her property without her permission, causing her groundwater to become polluted.

Adeline Fournie filed a lawsuit Oct. 25 in St. Clair County Circuit Court against Kenneth Fournie.

In her complaint, Adeline Fournie claims Kenneth Fournie deposited contaminated waste on her parcel of Belleville land located at 2700 South Belt West without her permission. Clean-up costs are estimated at about $144,000, according to the complaint.

The complaint does not state how the plaintiff and defendant are related, if at all.

"Defendant's placement of contaminated soil onto Property A has interfered with Plaintiff's quiet enjoyment of her property," the suit states. "The illegal disposal of this contaminated soil has caused damage to Plaintiff's property as it is no longer pristine and free of contaminants."

Kenneth Fournie obtained the contaminated soil from neighboring property, the suit claims. The soil on that property had become infused with gasoline due to two underground storage tanks that contained leaks along their product lines and that were corroded, the suit says.

The tanks were removed at some point after March 1998, and it was not until the removal that the petroleum problem was discovered, Adeline Fournie alleges.

"During the UST removal, water was observed in the excavation indicating that groundwater had been impacted," the suit states.

Kenneth Fournie, who was vice president of the concrete company that owned the tanks and contaminated land, took responsibility for the investigation, the complaint says.

In turn, he excavated the soil and placed it onto Adeline Fournie's property, according to the complaint. In addition, he placed seven monitoring wells on another piece of Adeline Fournie's adjacent property without her permission, she claims.

"Defendant's placement of contaminated soil onto Property A is a substantial invasion in the use and enjoyment of Plaintiff's land," the suit states.

Because of the contaminated soil that was placed on Adeline Fournie's land, her groundwater is now also contaminated, according to the complaint.

In her complaint, Adeline Fournie seeks a finding that Kenneth Fournie has created a nuisance, a finding that he failed to act in a reasonable manner, a finding that his actions caused injuries to Adeline Fournie's property and a finding that he created a nuisance and owes compensatory damages of $144,000, plus costs.

She also wants the court to order Kenneth Fournie to properly remove and remediate the contaminated soil from her property.

Adeline Fournie seeks a judgment of more than $100,000, unspecified punitive damages and other relief the court deems just.

Penni S. Livingston of Livingston Law Firm in Fairview Heights will be representing her.

St. Clair County Circuit Court case number: 11-L-601.

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