Rubidoux Community Services District Wins TCP Contamination Settlement


Rubidoux Community Services District, located in northwestern Riverside County, provides water, wastewater collection and treatment, solid waste disposal, fire protection and other services to a population of more than 35,000 entirely within the City of Jurupa Valley. During routine water quality testing in 2017, Rubidoux discovered that its Wells #2 and #4 were contaminated with 1,2,3-Trichloropropane (TCP), a man-made chemical found as a byproduct in certain pesticides, that has been linked to cancer.

The District purchased two granular-activated carbon (GAC) filtration system vessels to remove TCP after discovering the District was spending close to $100,000 a year to lease the treatment vessels.

The District hadn’t considered suing the polluters until SL Environmental Law Group reached out. It turned out that due to California statutes of limitation (time limits the law places on a person’s right to bring a lawsuit), the District had only a few weeks left to file a lawsuit.


SL Environmental took on the case and helped Rubidoux identify the source of the contamination and hold the polluters accountable. In January 2021, SL Environmental filed a complaint in federal district court against Dow Chemical and Shell Oil over TCP contamination alleging the companies knew, or should have known, that TCP from their products would pollute drinking water and “threaten the public health and welfare.”


In September 2022, a settlement was agreed upon, and helped protect Rubidoux customers from significant rate hikes.

The District’s General Manager Jeff Sims said that his experience with the TCP case propelled him to improve communications with the District’s water users. “We need to communicate more with our customers and help them understand the enormous amount of work and expertise that goes into ensuring that they have safe reliable drinking water 24-7. We also want them to know that these lawsuits are helping to protect residents and prevent rate increases by getting the polluters to pay the bill for cleaning up a problem they created. That’s a good news story worth sharing.”

SL Environmental is now also representing Rubidoux in multidistrict litigation (MDL-2873) against DuPont, 3M and other manufacturers over PFAS contamination.

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“A lot of the settlement funds went into offsetting what we spent on the vessels, getting the infrastructure in place and foreseeable O&M (operation and maintenance) costs. This has been extremely helpful for the district. Ken and his team have been great. We’re not a very big district with only 24 full-time staff members, so having this level of expertise was very helpful in minimizing our workload.”

Brian Laddusaw

Finance Director, Rubidoux Water Community Water District