Residents disappointed by verdict in favor of oil company

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- A new ruling comes as a shock to some people who live in east Kansas City, they say an oil company is leaking hazardous chemicals into their water supply.

A 2015 lawsuit between the State of Missouri and Zill LLC is now complete.

On Friday a Jackson County jury voted in favor of the oil company.

Although disappointed, residents of the affected neighborhood say they aren't done fighting this issue.

“Sometimes I would smell gas in my basement but I didn`t know exactly where it was coming from,” said Nina Riley who lives in the neighborhood.

In addition to the odor, Riley says she’s noticed some health concerns.

“My son, he's 20 years old and he has been having headaches,” she explained.

And she`s not alone. some neighbors have moved out because of the smell and what they believe to be related health concerns.

“They should not have to leave because of the negligence that`s in our community,” said State Representative Barbra Anne Washington.

This alleged negligence is on behalf of the inner city oil company which sits just around the corner from these homes.

“The Department of Natural Resources came out and did some proper testing and found that yes in fact this is an issue and you are ordered to clean this up. A year later there still had been no cleanup done,” Washington explained.

In 2015 then Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster filled a lawsuit against Zill LLC which owns the Inner City Oil Company. On Friday a Jackson County jury`s decision to side with the oil company comes as a blow to local residents.

“I thought it was atrocious that the citizens of Jackson county don`t realize the danger that is happening in our community,” says Washington.

Still, she says there`s hope for the homeowners.

“That lawsuit is lost, however the fact that those here in the community have been damaged by that water... you kind of think a Flint, Michigan situation. The fact that they have been damaged, they can still sue them and still proceed with their lawsuit for the damages that they have incurred,” said Washington.

Nina is one of many residents who are currently going through that process, and hoping for a better outcome.

“I really do hope that they actually listen to the people and really show some concern to the people and not think about the dollar signs and really truly be concerned about the health of the people in this community,” said Riley.

In addition to compensation residents say they would like to see  legislation passed requiring better storage tanks for gas companies and for the state to pay for a cancer study for residents living in the affected areas.

We have reached out to Zill LLC for comment on this matter and have not yet heard back from company leaders.