ROCKVILLE, Md. (CN) – KBR, Kellogg Brown & Root and Halliburton knowingly exposed U.S. troops to water contaminated by sewage and made soldiers sick by burning toxic waste unsafely, a class action claims in Montgomery County Court. The class claims that when KBR found it was giving troops contaminated water, it told its water quality specialist “to concern himself only with the health and safety of KBR personnel.”
The class claims KBR earned $4.8 billion in Iraq in 2006 – 45% of the company’s revenue that year – and that the defendants “acted egregiously merely to make more money for themselves.”
The complaint cites a 2008 report from the Defense Department’s Inspector General that confirmed that KBR supplied unsafe water to U.S. troops. It cites a 2006 report from KBR itself that found KBR’s failure to disinfect water “caused an unknown population to be exposed to potentially harmful water for an undetermined period of time,” and that “the deficiencies of the camp where the event occurred is not exclusive to that camp, meaning that countrywide, all camps suffer to some extent from all or some of the deficiencies noted.”
They claim KBR’s report admitted that the company kept little or no documentation on its water safety, standards or procedures.
The complaint states: “Former KBT employees and water quality specialist Ben Carter and Ken May told Halliburton Watch that KBR knowingly exposed troops and civilians to contaminated water from the Euphrates and Tigris Rivers. Ben Carter, a water quality specialist who worked for KBR at Junction city, testified that he tested water and found it was polluted with sewage and other contamination and that it was not being chlorinated. He then treated the tanks for the KBR employees and told company managers the military should be alerted so they could treat their tanks as well. Carter told the media that he was ordered by his KBR supervisor to concern himself only with the health and safety of KBR personnel. KBR was supposed to test the water three times daily to confirm safety but, according to Carter, such testing never occurred.”
The class seeks medical monitoring and punitive damages for negligence, breach of duty, willful and wanton conduct, and other charges. They are represented by William O’Neil with Burke O’Neil of Washington, D.C.