Richmond Says It Was Bilked for Drinking Water Treatment

RICHMOND, Va. (CN) – Richmond city officials claim in court that several chemical companies schemed to fix prices on a chemical used to treat drinking water, costing the municipality millions in unwarranted costs.

Aluminum sulfate, the chemical at the center of the lawsuit, bonds with harmful particulates in water, making them easier to filter.

In a federal lawsuit filed in Richmond on June 5, the city claims the 11 defendant companies conspired between 1997 and 2011 to abstain from competing for customers and to rig bidding systems in their favor.

Over the 14 years of the alleged conspiracy, the price of aluminum sulfate rose from $108.50 per ton to an artificially inflated $401.60.

The city claims the water treatment chemical industry has a history of collusion, mainly due to municipalities not having affordable alternatives to the companies’ products and services.

The city seek $5 million in damages and a refund of all money paid under their contracts to the respective companies.

It is represented by Constantinos Panagopoulos of Ballard Spahr in Washington DC.

Representatives of the defendants could not immediately be reached for comment.

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