It was technical day in the courtroom in the pollution lawsuit against a Phenix City carbon plant.
A Columbus homeowner, a Columbus businessman, and the city of Columbus are suing Continental Carbon. They claim the company negligently allowed carbon black dust to escape from its Phenix City plant which then falls onto their property across the Chattahoochee River.
The plaintiffs first expert witness Monday was Limari Frieire Krebs who works for Tetra Tech, an environmental consulting company. Krebs gathered samples of black spots from boats at Action Marine, from houses in the Oakland Park neighborhood in South Columbus, and from city property such as the Civic Center roof. She took samples from 19 different locations.
Krebs explained to the jury the techniques and equipment she and her co-workers used to gather the samples.
Krebs said you can’t tell if the black spots are carbon black with the naked eye, but the black dots she gathered were odd.
Defense attorney Lee DeHihns pointed out that she did not record weather conditions the days she took the samples. When asked why, Krebs said there was nothing unusual about the weather in Columbus on those days.
The plaintiffs other expert was Dr. Garth Freeman who has 30 years experience in analyzing carbon. He is co-owner of a specialty analysis laboratory service called Materials Analysis Group Inc.
The plaintiffs hired Freeman to analyze the black spots Krebs collected. He did this by using different microscopes. He said he relied on a process called transmission electron microscopy, which he said is the standard for looking at carbon black.
Freeman testified that carbon black is very difficult to detect even under a microscope because the small carbon black (particles) can hide behind other large particles. But he said he found several of the 19 locations from which black spot samples were taken proved positive for carbon black.