Lawsuit claims Dalton, Ga., carpet companies polluted Alabama drinking water with chemical linked to cancer

Photo by Steve Raper/Georgia Department of Natural Resources A stretch of the Conasauga River

An Alabama water utility is suing North Georgia's carpet manufacturers, saying they polluted the Conasauga and Coosa rivers with toxic chemicals that have undermined the quality of drinking supplies and encouraged many customers to switch to bottled water.

The Gadsden Water Works and Sewer Board in Gadsden, Ala., filed a lawsuit against 32 carpet makers and suppliers, mostly in the Dalton, Ga., area, charging the companies with releasing potentially dangerous chemicals used in stain-resistant carpet into the river from which Gadsden and nearby communities get their water supply.

"Gadsden Water, has and continues to be damaged due to the negligent, willful and wanton conduct" of the carpet makers and chemical suppliers, Russellville, Ala.,