Cannery contamination suit moves to trial


A judge said some claims can go forward in a lawsuit linked to contamination from a fruit processor in the region.

For more than 30 years, wastewater has been used to irrigate the fields surrounding the Birds Eye plant in Fennville in Allegan County.

It has led to high levels of iron, sodium and arsenic in the groundwater.

The cannery produces fruit fillings, sauces and glazes.

Birds Eye asked Kalamazoo federal Judge Paul Maloney to dismiss key claims in a lawsuit filed by several families.

In a Dec. 20 opinion, the judge said some claims will remain alive, including lost property use and value. Trial is set for Feb. 25.

In 2010, Birds Eye agreed to build a wastewater treatment system. Area homes switched to public water in 2011.

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