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The home for VPR's coverage of health and health industry issues affecting the state of Vermont.

Couple Affected By Dartmouth Contamination Will Sue The College In Federal Court

Residents of a Hanover neighborhood say they will be suing Dartmouth College in federal court over a contamination affecting their drinking water.

Debbie and Richard Higgins have been drinking bottled water provided by Dartmouth for over a year since the chemical 1-4 dioxane was found in their water source.

It had seeped down the hill from a former hazardous waste burial site owned and operated by Dartmouth.

Now they say they will sue the school and are demanding that Dartmouth pay to relocate them. About 90 days ago, the Higgins’ lawyers sent the college a notice of their intent to sue.

But in a response letter sent by Dartmouth College lawyers, the Ivy League school claims they have always followed state regulations.

Geoffrey Vitt is one of the Higgins' lawyers, and says Dartmouth's response is not surprising.

“Dartmouth essentially is saying, 'This is going to cost you a fortune, you'll have to spend over $100,000 for experts,'” Vitt told VPR on Tuesday. “That, to me, is consistent with Dartmouth's good neighbor policy: 'We have a lot of money, you don't, and good luck.’”

Dartmouth has suggested further talks outside of courts, but Vitt says the Higgins will be officially filing the lawsuit.

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