The film version ended well enough — chased down by the unlikely crusader Erin Brockovich, played by Julia Roberts, the giant California power company PG&E settled with residents in the high desert town of Hinkley over claims that it poisoned their water supply and exposed them to life-threatening illnesses.
Regrettably, a sequel may now have to be ordered. Thirteen years after the company paid $333m (£207m) to settle the class-action suit, the silent scourge in the soil may be back.
A large plume of water laced with the offending chromium 6 has been found spreading beyond an agreed containment boundary and towards residents' homes.
Among those voicing their concern is Ms Brockovich.
“I'll be out there soon to start knocking on doors and examining water and soil test results.
“Then we'll decide how to proceed,” she said.