Scottsdale homeowners who are owed a piece of a massive settlement over contaminated drinking water should begin looking for their checks to arrive in the mail during the next month.
The property damage settlement stemmed from a 1992 lawsuit by residents of south Scottsdale, east Phoenix and the West Valley who lived over contaminated water plumes.
South Scottsdale property owners will get $7.5 million of the $26 million settlement. The first batch of the south Scottsdale checks is slated to be mailed Jan. 16, according to Tony Lucia of the Phoenix law firm of Treon, Strick, Lucia and Aguirre, which was involved in the settlement.
"We’re happy to finally be able to distribute the funds to these folks and that we got to the end here," Lucia said. Checks for about 41,000 people will range from $50 to $1,000, based on length of ownership and the value of their home.
Property owners claimed they were exposed to the industrial solvent trichloroethylene used by a number of semiconductor plants. TCE seeped into Valley aquifers, including one in Scottsdale, dating back to the late 1950s.
The payments were originally expected to be dispersed last summer but were delayed because of difficulties locating transient property owners.
About 25 percent of the property owners are still unaccounted for, Lucia said.
The names of missing property owners who are owed a settlement check will be listed on a Web site, www.phoenixtce.com.
A claim form can be printed and mailed to the distribution company. Homeowners will be required to produce a deed or some other evidence of ownership, Lucia said.
"We won’t find everybody," Lucia said. "(The remaining money) will either be used for public improvements, or theoretically, there could be a second distribution. . . ."
Homeowners can call (800) 320-9115 for more information. Property owners also will be receiving a "settlement disclosure letter" in the mail within the next few days.