Harris Teeter sues Arlington County over massive sewage spill

The Crystal City Harris Teeter has been closed since May 2012 after the spill. Photo: ABC7

(WJLA) - Representatives of Harris Teeter have filed a lawsuit against Arlington County alleging negligence in connection to an incident in May of 2012 during which one of their stores was flooded with sewage.

In court documents filed Sept. 17 in U.S. District Court, the insurance companies representing the major East Coast grocery chain says that the county's failure to properly monitor and maintain a water treatment plant caused a massive sewage backup into one of their Arlington stores.

That store, which is located on South Glebe Road at Jefferson Davis Highway in Crystal City, was flooded on May 11, 2012, when a clogged sewer line at a nearby water control plant caused a major sewage flood.

The store has been closed ever since, though signs at the store indicate that it will reopen this autumn.

City permits are up. And workers are getting the store ready to reopen.

Nearby residents say it was about time.

"Right now we only have a of couple stores and it takes a lot more time to go wherever we want," says Glenda Palomino who works in the same commercial complex.

Amaris Johnson says she would often go there for lunch because it's close to where she works.

In the lawsuit, Harris Teeter's attorneys maintain that the county's failure to properly operate, inspect and maintain its Water Pollution Control Plant, which is located one block west of the grocery store.

The suit also maintains that the county ignored warnings from employees and problems with its equipment that may have led to the spill.

The chain is seeking damages totaling more than $1 million.