The lawsuit names 36 present and former inmates at The Atlanta Federal Penitentiary as plaintiffs against the city. The attorney for the inmates declined to comment.
Arsenic is lethal at high levels and is sometimes used as a rat poison. At lower levels it can cause cancer.
The lawsuit stated the city’s actions violated the federal Safe Drinking Water Act and Clean Water Act, as well as federal and state statutes governing the need to inspect, repair and maintain a safe water supply at the prison.
The inmates alleged they suffered “extreme and severe mental anguish and physical pain” from consuming the water, according to the lawsuit. They are seeking monetary damages, according to the lawsuit, which added that the inmates want a jury to prohibit the city from supplying the prison with water that is not cleaned through a filtration system that removes poisons from the prison water system.