Swedish state loses major pollution lawsuit

A French chemical giant has been told it will not have to pay the Swedish state for the costs of major pollution caused during the building of a rail tunnel in southern Sweden ten years ago.

Swedish state loses major pollution lawsuit
Photo: Banverket

Rhone-Poulenc, now called Rhodia, supplied the sealing agent Rhoca Gil, which was used to seal newly built train tunnels through the Hallandsås ridge. The poison acrylamide leaked out, polluting streams and wells.

The Swedish state sued Rhodia for 46 million kronor ($7 million), saying that Rhodia had misled the Swedish rail authority Banverket and should therefore pay damages. But Helsingborg District Court dismissed the claim, saying the state had not presented sufficient evidence.

Construction company Skanska, which was responsible for the building of the tunnel, also sued Rhodia, but the two companies reached a settlement in 2003.

Banverket and Skanska have promised to pay costs of 92 million kronor for clearing up the pollution and compensating owners of destroyed water sources.