New Brighton sues U.S. Army over 1988 water contamination settlement

New Brighton filed a suit against the U.S. Army in federal court May 21 over Army attempts to modify a settlement agreement reached in 1988 regarding water contamination from the Twin Cities Army Ammunition Plant that was discovered in 1981, according to a press release.

The more than 25-year-old agreement, in which the Army admitted to contaminating the water, stipulates that the Army make permanent advanced payments for a city-controlled water treatment plant that would be under the jurisdiction of Minnesota state law.

According to New Brighton city manager Dean Lotter, the Army and city have been negotiating the settlement since 2009, and since 2011, the Army has been trying to change the terms of the settlement. Lotter said it’s unclear why the Army is trying to alter the agreement.

The Army, Lotter said, wants to make the city answer to a federal grants office that would have approval power over future payments, along with other changes to the agreement.

In relation to the contamination of the city’s water, “they want to treat us like a lowest bidder or a contractor, and really, we’re a victim,” Lotter explained.

An Army spokesperson could not be reached for comment.

The New Brighton statement said that normal operations would continue at the city’s water treatment plant, which treats 1 billion gallons of water per year. Lotter said that a judge had been assigned to the case and that he expected court dealings to last about a year.

--Mike Munzenrider


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