A water utility company has alleged a cartel of chemical companies colluded in a price-fixing and bid-rigging scheme involving a water treatment chemical, adding to the wide-ranging litigation over the purported conspiracy, according to a filing Thursday in Maryland federal court.

Maryland-based Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission is the latest company to file a lawsuit alleging that from 1997 to 2011, General Chemical Corp., GEO Specialty Chemicals Inc., C&S Chemicals Inc. and several other chemical companies and executives rigged bids and fixed prices for liquid aluminum sulfate, or alum.

WSSC claims to have spent approximately $9 million on alum and is seeking to recoup at least $5 million in damages. WSSC alleges conventions such as the American Water Works Association provided opportunities to collude and that "attendance at industry conferences and trade associations facilitated their coordinated price increases," according to the complaint.

Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission is represented by General Counsel Amanda Stakem Conn and William Alden McDaniel Jr., Jay N. Fastow, Justin W. Lamson, Edward D. Rogers, Jason A. Leckerman and Thomas J. Gallagher IV of Ballard Spahr LLP.

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