Waynesboro Water Access Suit Transferred to Federal Court
A little-known water source was key to Waynesboro's industrial revolution in the 1920s. Nearly a century later, Baker Spring is just as coveted - It is the center of federal court action between two of the city's biggest employers.
South River Incorporated first filed suit against Invista and Dupont in the city of Waynesboro. The case has been transferred to federal court but may never actually see a jury.
Monday, the plaintiff said both sides are working to resolve the case without going to trial.
Baker Spring is on the property of the Invista textile plant. A pipe running under the South River delivered spring water to the former Crompton plant for decades, beginning in the 1920s.
The new owners of the Crompton property - now the Mill at South River - want the tap turned back on. It would help supply a growing list of tenants, and would be a key to the proposed Center for Coldwaters Research.
"It is the perfect place - because of our unique access to these resources - for this center to be. Whether it's in one contiguous campus or we break it into a couple of different pieces would be determined upon access to that spring," said Len Poulin of the Center for Coldwaters Research project.
Owners of the South River Complex want a judge to grant them access to 3 million gallons a day. Invista points out that none of their neighbors have tried to draw water from the spring in more than 20 years.
A meeting between the federal judge, and attorneys on both sides, is set for Thursday. If they can't reach an agreement by the end of February, the court will likely set the case for a trial by jury.
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