Lawsuit accuses Lockheed Martin facility of mishandling toxins, creating “environmental nightmare”
Defense giant Lockheed Martin created an “environmental nightmare” at its facility off Sand Lake Road by mismanaging hazardous toxins, which contaminated nearby workers who were later diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, brain lesions, cancer and other diseases, newly filed lawsuits say.
Orlando attorney John Morgan said his firm filed two complaints Monday in federal court, including a class-action lawsuit, against Lockheed Martin on behalf of Golf Channel employees who worked close to the site in Tangelo Park, as well as area residents, according to the Orlando Sentinel.
For decades, Lockheed Martin manufactured heavy weaponry at its facilities, generating “dangerous wastes,” including different types of metal sludge, oils and greases, metal cuttings and scraps, cyanide and spent acid solutions, the lawsuit said.
Instead of carefully managing the waste, attorneys alleged Lockheed Martin stored toxins in leaking storage tanks, collected and transported waste in leaking underground piping systems and dumped tons of toxic waste sludge inside trenches dug at the Orlando facility.
“Lockheed Martin’s stunning indifference to environmental protection and human health resulted in staggering levels of contamination at the Orlando [facility],” the lawsuit said.
Regulations from EPA limit certain chemical contaminants in drinking water to 5 parts per billion (ppb) with a goal of having zero. The lawsuit alleges two contaminants were detected in groundwater underneath the Lockheed Martin facility in concentrations as high as 386,000 ppb and 213,600 ppb.
The company tried to treat the contaminated soil and groundwater by installing air strippers and soil vapor extraction systems that would remove the pollutants by turning them into gas, the suit states.
But Lockheed Martin “failed to contain” gaseous toxins in a sealed collection system, instead expelling them directly into the air and exposing nearby residents and workers, the lawsuit alleges.
“The contaminants present at the Orlando [facility] damage virtually every human bodily system,” the complaint said. “… Many of the contaminants present at the Orlando [facility] are powerful carcinogens and cause a wide array of different cancers.”
Aside from damages, the class-action lawsuit seeks for Lockheed Martin to pay for a “medical monitoring” program to detect illness and diseases in exposed people, said attorney Mike Morgan.