The city of Clovis won its more than three-month-long civil trial against chemical manufacturing giant Shell Oil Co. over the cleanup of a toxic chemical found in drinking-water wells around the city of 108,000 people.
The chemical is 1,2,3-trichloropropane, or TCP, which is a waste product from making plastic. TCP was in farm fumigants last used in the 1980s, which were injected into the ground to kill tiny worms called nematodes.
A jury on Wednesday awarded the city nearly $22 million, finding that Clovis residents were harmed by the design of the fumigant, that Shell did not prove the benefits of its product outweighed the risks, and that those risks were known at the time it was sold. A lawyer for the city said the verdict could increase the likelihood that Shell will settle a similar case filed by the city of Fresno.