September 22, 2017
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Former DFAS employee sues Limestone facility over bad water

By Jen Lynds, BDN Staff
Gabor Degre | BDN | BDN
Gabor Degre | BDN | BDN
The Department of Defense Finance and Accounting Service offices on the grounds of the former Loring Air Force Base in Limestone.

CARIBOU, Maine — A Georgia woman and former employee of the Defense Finance and Accounting Service in Limestone is suing the Loring Development Authority, claiming that she is suffering health effects after she was exposed to contaminated water at work.

Angela Jackson of Bonaire, Georgia, filed the suit on Monday in U.S. District Court in Bangor. According to the court documents, she started work in 1997 at the DFAS offices in Limestone, which are located in the Loring Commerce Centre on the former Loring Air Force base.

The Loring Development Authority, which oversees facilities on the property, provided water service through an underground reservoir, storage system, and treatment plant to DFAS and other businesses and residential tenants, the suit states.

Jackson, who frequently drank the water in her coffee, began getting ill around 2004 or 2005, according to the lawsuit. Her condition worsened significantly in July 2011 and she began suffering neurological problems, hair loss, appetite disturbance, headaches, memory lapses and sleep disturbances, the suit says.

Despite medical treatment, she never received a diagnosis for her condition. Her colleagues also began suffering health effects, and Jackson began to believe that there was something unhealthy about the building.

Jackson opted to transfer away from the facility to Georgia in 2015 in the hopes that it would alleviate her medical problems.

Her attorney, Christopher Leger of Caribou, said Wednesday that her health began to improve once she left the facility.

The next year, she received a copy of a document indicating that water tests conducted at the LDA from Oct. 1, 2015, to Dec. 31, 2015, showed that the average level of total trihalomethanes in the water system was 151 parts per billion, exceeding the maximum contaminant level allowed of 80 parts per billion. Trihalomethanes are formed as a by-product predominantly when chlorine is used to disinfect water for drinking.

Jackson contends that the LDA’s trihalomethanes level has been out of compliance since 2004, and that she continues to suffer adverse and apparently permanent health consequences from the daily, long-term ingestion of trihalomethanes contained in the water provided by DFAS, according to her lawsuit.

Leger said his client is asking for a jury trial and seeking a monetary award “sufficiently large” enough to compensate her for damages, lost wages and attorney fees.

Carl Flora, president and chief executive officer of the LDA, said Thursday that he has not seen the suit and could not comment.

 


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