KENT COUNTY, R.I.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--The Kent County Water Authority has retained a consortium of experienced water contamination law firms, including the local law firm of Marin, Barrett, and Murphy, to represent them in litigation and settlement of claims against the 3M Company, E.I. Dupont, and other manufacturers of toxic PFAS chemicals with a focus on the use of PFAS in firefighting foam (AFFF). These toxic chemicals were used for decades throughout Kent County and have contaminated the drinking water supply and water sources utilized by the Kent County Water Authority.
The costs to remove of these toxic ‘forever chemicals’ has created a financial burden for the Kent County Water Authority and initiation of this litigation and the terms of the proposed settlement will allow KCWA to hold the PFAS manufacturers financially accountable for the costs, expenses, and impacts caused by this contamination. The KCWA has and continues to spend countless efforts and resources testing and working to remediate PFAS from the drinking water to remain in compliance with State and Federal water quality guidelines.
The Executive Director of the Kent County Water Authority, David L. Simmons, PE, said “This lawsuit represents the collective interests of all residents within the Kent County Water Authority’s service area and aims to safeguard the preservation of clean drinking water. Joining this litigation demonstrates our continuing efforts to prioritize the protection of our water supply and will help guarantee a sustained supply of clean water for future generations.” The Director added, “The litigation will help to ensure that the cost of removing PFAS contaminants are borne by the manufacturers and sellers of these products, not the ratepayers.”
PFAS are persistent toxic chemicals that bioaccumulate when released into the environment. PFAS has been associated with several negative health outcomes in both humans and animals and has been shown to be toxic at very low concentrations. PFAS has impacted surface water and groundwater throughout the country resulting in hundreds of similar suits brought forward by water providers, and mostly against the same defendants. Just recently, a major settlement was reached in the PFAS litigation in June 2023 when 3M, Dupont, and other manufacturers agreed to a class action settlement of water authority claims and set aside $10.3 to $12.5 billion to pay claims. The multidistrict litigation PFAS settlement process is ongoing in South Carolina Federal District Court before Judge Richard M. Gergel.
Matthew Marin, partner at the Marin, Barrett, and Murphy Law Firm, stated “It is imperative that we hold 3M, DuPont, and the numerous other manufacturers responsible for producing these hazardous chemical-containing products accountable. Over the years, these companies manufactured products that they knew would contaminate the environment, yet neglected to avoid the use of PFAS in products and failed to provide warnings that using these products as directed could result in groundwater contamination. It is unjust for the Kent County Water Authority and it’s residents to bear the burden for the substantial costs of this cleanup effort.”
Marin, Barrett, and Murphy is handling the Kent County Water Authority case as part of a team of leading law firms with decades of experience representing municipalities and other water providers across the country in efforts to recover the costs of treating groundwater contamination from the corporations whose products caused the contamination. This group of firms is representing more than 130 other water systems across the country impacted by PFAS contamination.