Residents near 'Cancer Creek' receive checks

Published: Sep. 5, 2008 at 8:29 PM CDT|Updated: Sep. 5, 2008 at 10:41 PM CDT
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MEMPHIS, TN (WMC-TV) - Residents near Memphis' so-called 'Cancer Creek' received settlement checks Friday.

A lawsuit filed in 2004, charged Velsicol Chemical Company with dispersing toxic chemicals into Cypress creek.   Arthur Horne was one of the attorneys representing almost 200 homeowners whose property was contaminated by the hazardous waste that seeped into their soil. 
"The lawsuit was involving the devaluation in property value on the residents here in the Cypress Creek area," Horn said.

Friday, homeowners received checks ranging from $1,500 to $20,000 - totaling nearly $1.5 million - to make up for their losses in property values.

"We waited a long time, but its good you know, and with the economy, everybody's broke and jobs gone," plaintiff Martha Jones said. "It's really good.  It's a good deed."

"I'm glad lived to get a chance to get it," plaintiff Abraham Slaughter added. "I didn't think I'd ever live to see the settlement."

The state of Tennessee has already paid for the most highly contaminated properties to be cleaned up.  Friday's checks, officials said, could be used for additional clean-up.
"These funds are to be used as the residents want to," plaintiff Edward Parker said. "If they want to go in and do some additional cleanup, they can do that."

Some will use their money to make ends meet for a while.

"I'm going to the bank to put it in the bank," Parker said.

Many recipients said they weren't expecting to get anything at all, but the extra cash comes at a good time.

Residents who did not receive their settlement check Friday can pick it up Saturday from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. at the Vollentine Evergreen Community Center.

Click here to send an email to Anna Marie Hartman.