A judge in Parkersburg, W.Va., refused to step down from a class-action lawsuit filed by Ohio and West Virginia residents who claim that a DuPont plant contaminated water supplies.

Wood County Circuit Judge George W. Hill lives in the area where the chemical was detected and could be a potential benefactor, DuPont said.

A court order designated the class as “all persons whose drinking water is or has been contaminated with C8 attributable to releases from DuPont’s Washington Works Plant.”

Last week, Hill said residents of Parkersburg, where he lives, do not qualify for the class because testing of the city’s water supplies revealed nonquantifiable traces of ammonium perfluorooctanoate, or C8.

The lawsuit was filed in August 2001 on behalf of as many as 50,000 people who live near the plant along the Ohio River. The trial is set to begin Sept. 15.

Also last week, Hill granted the plaintiffs’ request that DuPont turn over medical records of employees whose blood was tested for C8.

DuPont scientists have said there are no known health effects of C8, which the company has used for more than 50 years at the plant.