Companies reach $1.18 billion deal to resolve claims from ‘forever chemicals’ water contamination

Jun 2, 2023, 12:16 PM | Updated: 12:44 pm

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. (AP) — Three chemical companies said Friday they had reached a $1.18 billion deal to resolve complaints of polluting many U.S. drinking water systems with potentially harmful compounds known as PFAS.

DuPont de Nemours Inc., The Chemours Co. and Corteva Inc. said they would establish a fund to compensate water providers for contamination with the chemicals used widely in nonstick, water- and grease-resistant products, as well as some firefighting foams.

Described as “forever chemicals” because they don’t degrade naturally in the environment, PFAS have been linked to a variety of health problems, including liver and immune-system damage and some cancers.

The compounds have been detected at varying levels in drinking water around the nation. The Environmental Protection Agency in March proposed strict limits on two common types, PFOA and PFOS, and said it wanted to regulate four others. Water providers would be responsible for monitoring their systems for the chemicals.

The agreement would settle a case that was scheduled for trial Monday involving a claim by Stuart, Florida, one of about 300 communities that have filed similar suits since 2018 against companies that produced firefighting foam or the PFAS it contained.

They are pending in U.S. District Court in Charleston, South Carolina, where Judge Richard Gergel is overseeing thousands of complaints alleging PFAS damages. Among the plaintiffs are water providers, airports, and a number of states and private well owners.

“This agreement represents the first of many steps to begin to redress the harms of PFAS contamination in America’s drinking water supplies,” law firms representing plaintiffs said in a statement.

Chemours and Corteva are spinoffs of DuPont, which made PFAS that other companies used in firefighting foam. It has tainted groundwater on and near military bases and other locations where it’s used in training exercises.

The companies said in a joint statement the proposed settlement would “comprehensively resolve all PFAS-related drinking water claims of a defined class of public water systems that serve the vast majority of the United States population.”

That group could include thousands of public water systems, from large cities to those serving a few thousand residents, said Michael London, lead counsel for one of the law firms bringing the actions. To qualify for shares of the fund, they would have to test their water and detect PFAS.

Chemours would contribute half of the fund — about $592 million. DuPont will pay $400 million and Corteva $193 million. The companies agreed in 2021 to split expenses in PFAS cases.

If Judge Gergel approves the deal, he will set a timetable for notifying water providers who might stake claims.

They are free to opt out and pursue separate cases, but participants “will get funds to address PFAS contamination right now,” said Carla Pickrel, an attorney whose firm represents about 200 plaintiffs including California Water Service; Sioux Falls, South Dakota; and Yarmouth, Massachusetts.

The agreement excludes systems owned by states or the U.S. government and small systems that haven’t detected PFAS and aren’t legally required to monitor for it.

It doesn’t settle thousands of cases against other PFAS makers and dealers. Among them are 3M, the primary manufacturer of firefighting foam containing the compounds; Tyco Fire Products; and Chemguard. A trial in Stuart, Florida’s, case against 3M begins Monday.

Pennsylvania this week became the latest state to sue, accusing Chemours and DuPont of marketing the chemicals to firefighting foam manufacturers in the state despite knowing for decades they posed health dangers.

The state seeks restitution for cleanup costs, noting that drinking water found in and around a pair of military facilities in suburban Philadelphia had some of the nation’s highest PFAS contamination readings.

“This settlement by DuPont, in our mind’s eye, deals with really just a fraction of this contamination,” London said.


AP reporter Marc Levy in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, contributed to this story.

National News

Associated Press

Kidnapped teen rescued from Southern California motel room after 4 days of being held hostage

SANTA MARIA, Calif. (AP) — Authorities rescued a 17-year-old boy in Southern California after he was kidnapped and held hostage for four days by captors who threatened to harm him if his family did not pay a $500,000 ransom. The teen was rescued Friday after law enforcement tracked him and his three kidnappers to a […]

3 hours ago

Associated Press

Woman arrested after 55 dogs are removed from animal rescue home and 5 dead puppies found in freezer

CHANDLER, Ariz. (AP) — A Chandler woman who ran an animal rescue out of her now-condemned home has been arrested after dozens of abused dogs were discovered and five dead puppies found in a freezer, according to police. April McLaughlin, 48, was taken into custody Friday after a search warrant was executed at the house. […]

8 hours ago

Associated Press

Suspect arrested after shooting at the Oklahoma State Fair injures 1, police say

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — One person was injured when shots were fired during an argument between two groups of people at the Oklahoma State Fair on Saturday, sending a crowd of people running for safety, police said. One person was arrested on a charge of assault with a deadly weapon after the evening shooting, Oklahoma […]

10 hours ago

Associated Press

Former NHL player Nicolas Kerdiles dies after a motorcycle crash in Nashville. He was 29

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Former NHL player Nicolas Kerdiles died Saturday after a motorcycle crash in Nashville, according to police. He was 29. The one-time hockey player for the Anaheim Ducks drove his motorcycle through a stop sign early Saturday and hit the driver’s side of an SUV, according to the Metro Nashville Police Department. […]

10 hours ago

Associated Press

Hazing lawsuit filed against University of Alabama fraternity

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (AP) — A student and his parents have filed a lawsuit against a University of Alabama fraternity, saying he suffered a traumatic brain injury while being hazed as a fraternity pledge earlier this year. The lawsuit filed last week accuses Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity and others associated with it of fraud, negligence and […]

10 hours ago

Associated Press

Louisiana man who fled attempted murder trial captured after 32 years on the run

ARCADIA, La. (AP) — A Louisiana man who fled his 1991 trial for attempted murder has been arrested more than three decades later after authorities found him hiding in Mexico, authorities said. Greg Lawson, 63, was brought back to the United States on Thursday after being located in Mexico, the FBI said. Lawson was accused […]

11 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

Swedish Cyberknife...

September is Prostate Cancer Awareness Month

September is a busy month on the sports calendar and also holds a very special designation: Prostate Cancer Awareness Month.

Ziply Fiber...

Dan Miller

The truth about Gigs, Gs and other internet marketing jargon

If you’re confused by internet technologies and marketing jargon, you’re not alone. Here's how you can make an informed decision.

Education families...

Education that meets the needs of students, families

Washington Virtual Academies (WAVA) is a program of Omak School District that is a full-time online public school for students in grades K-12.

Emergency preparedness...

Emergency planning for the worst-case scenario

What would you do if you woke up in the middle of the night and heard an intruder in your kitchen? West Coast Armory North can help.

Innovative Education...

The Power of an Innovative Education

Parents and students in Washington state have the power to reimagine the K-12 educational experience through Insight School of Washington.

Medicare fraud...

If you’re on Medicare, you can help stop fraud!

Fraud costs Medicare an estimated $60 billion each year and ultimately raises the cost of health care for everyone.

Companies reach $1.18 billion deal to resolve claims from ‘forever chemicals’ water contamination