Charleston, West Virginia — A federal bankruptcy judge in West Virginia has approved a $2.9 million settlement to benefit 300,000 people whose water was contaminated in a January chemical spill.
Judge Ronald Pearson filed the order Tuesday in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Charleston. A U.S. District Court judge's approval is also needed.
The proposal relies on insurance proceeds from bankrupt Freedom Industries. The spill spurred a tap-water ban for days. Freedom filed for bankruptcy eight days later.
The settlement would let a yet-to-be-determined panel pick public interest projects to fund, potentially including long-term health monitoring or more water testing.
The company whose water supply was contaminated opposed the deal. West Virginia American Water said the settlement would keep thousands of creditors from recovering anything on bankruptcy claims.
The Charleston Gazette first reported the order.