PFAS Water Contamination Leads City Towards Lawsuit

The city has detected a steady level of PFAS in its drinking water over the past two decades. The city plans to sue to recover future remediation costs, as more stringent Federal EPA standards are expected to soon be in place, potentially exceeding the current contamination levels in Deer Park’s water supply.

In a press release dated July 19, 2023, the City of Deer Park reported PFAS (Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances) contamination in the city’s drinking water supplies. PFAS are often referred to as forever chemicals because they break down very slowly. The 2022 Water Quality Report identified that PFAS contamination levels have reportedly been consistent over the past 20+ years but were only part of state-required testing last year.

There is an anticipation of stricter Federal EPA standards for PFAS and other contaminants. If these new standards are implemented, Deer Park’s PFAS contamination levels could surpass the maximum allowable limits for municipal water systems, necessitating compulsory water remediation work, all at the city’s expense.

There are PFAS water tests available for purchase on Amazon*.

According to Ken Sansone, specialized legal counsel, major manufacturers like 3M and DuPont have known about the environmental and human health hazards of PFAS for decades. Despite this knowledge, they allegedly failed to inform users about these risks and actively worked to conceal them. In response, thousands of water system owners across the U.S. have brought lawsuits against these manufacturers, aiming to recover cleanup costs.

As part of this collective action, the City of Deer Park plans to join a multi-district litigation (MDL) proceeding against 3M, DuPont, and other manufacturers. This move aims to recover the potential costs the city may incur to remediate PFAS contamination. Given the contingent nature of the legal proceedings, there is little risk to the city. The group of firms representing the city will only be paid if they manage to secure a recovery for the city.

As the city navigates this challenging situation, it seeks to act in the best interest of its residents. The potential settlements from 3M and DuPont present complex formulas for determining payouts, making the involvement of specialized legal counsel essential. If the city chooses not to participate in these settlements. In that case, the legal team will continue to pursue the city’s claims against the dozen or so other potential defendants who made PFAS but have not yet proposed any settlement.

Facts About PFAS
PFAS, or per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, are prevalent and enduring chemicals that decompose exceptionally slowly. Because of their extensive use and persistence, PFAS can be found in people’s and animals’ blood worldwide, various food products, and the environment. These substances are present in water, air, fish, and soil at locations across the country and around the globe.

Current scientific studies have established a connection between exposure to some PFAS in the environment and adverse health effects in humans and animals. However, given the vast number of PFAS chemicals found in different consumer, commercial, and industrial products, studying and assessing potential health and environmental risks presents a significant challenge.

Despite this knowledge, several crucial questions about PFAS still need to be answered. Research is ongoing to understand how to detect and measure PFAS more effectively and efficiently in our air, water, soil, fish, and wildlife. Other key research questions include understanding the extent of human exposure to PFAS, the degree of harm PFAS cause to people and the environment, and effective ways to remove PFAS from drinking water and manage and dispose of PFAS.


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