Raytheon Toxic Spill Damages Azalea Property Values

Azalea neighborhood homeowners and business owners in St. Petersburg have spent years paying on mortgages hoping to see increases in value in their properties. Now their corporate neighbor Raytheon has damaged property values in the neighborhood by failing to properly clean up toxic chemicals that have leached into the ground water and formed a toxic plume under azalea park and under azalea homes and businesses. Raytheon apparently made the decision that the company could save money by not cleaning up its mess and hoping its dangerous chemicals just go away on their own. Raytheon called its clean up plan “natural attenuation” In other words, dump it on your neighbors.
The contamination of the neighborhood ground water will make it more difficult to sell homes in the area and will reduce property values, perhaps substantially. My expert real estate appraiser who has been surveying the area today advises me that banks may be unwilling or hesitant to give mortgage loans on property that may be contaminated with toxic chemicals. Furthermore, even properties that are not contaminated will be devalued by being in an area with the stigma of toxic pollution. The lower priced sales of the contaminated properties in the area will also reduce the amount that banks will lend on nearby non-contaminated properties thus reducing the market value of those properties. Azalea property owners do have a right to bring individual or class action lawsuits recover for loss of property value as well as for injury to their health if that can be connected to the chemical exposure. The law is on the property owners side in the dispute. Raytheon should pay.