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Syngenta Pays 105 Million for Contaminating Drinking Water

Under a recent class-action lawsuit, agricultural chemical company Syngenta will have to pay cities and towns across the Midwest for contaminating water supplies with the herbicide atrazine. This includes several in Western Illinois.Carthage is receiving over 100  thousand dollars under the settlement. City Attorney Stanley Tucker said in the late 90’s the city actually paid farmers not to use Atrazine to help lower the amount of herbicide in the water.

He said the money will help pay for some of the program, but without the class action suit Tucker said Carthage would not have received anything.

"A small place like Carthage or Macomb, or a town that size really doesn't have the ability to go against a national or multinational corporation on such a technical matter," Tucker said, "that's the great utility of a class action."

Tucker added that communities like Carthage that get their water from lakes or ponds are more at risk for atrazine exposure.

Unlike the large Mississippi River which can carry away atrazine, ponds and lakes concentrate the herbicide as it runs off from nearby farmland.

Warsaw, Hamilton, Nauvoo, Carthage, La Harpe, Blandinsville, Macomb, Vermont, and Canton also received money from the suit.

Syngenta will pay a total of 105 million dollars, 15 of which will go to communities in Illinois, and 10 million to those in Iowa.


Scott Stuntz is a former reporter at Tri States Public Radio.