In another recently settled suit, 3M will pay nearly $100 million to Alabama residents.
Alabama attorneys have requested that a federal judge approve a $12 million settlement with 3M Co., which allegedly polluted the Tennessee River with “forever chemicals.”
According to Bloomberg Law, customers of West Morgan-East Lawrence Water and the Sewer Authority say that 3M—along with Dyneon, LLC, and and Daiken America, Inc.—releases per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances into the river.
The river, says Bloomberg Law, is the only source of raw water for the utilities.
The $12 million settlement will partially reimburse consumers who either paid for contaminated water while staying in their own homes, or who paid for contaminated water while staying in another person’s home.
Residents will receive between $50 and $745, while household members and owners who did not pay for contaminated water will receive between $500 and $100 each.
In their filing, attorneys for Tennessee consumers sad they believe the settlement is far, even though it does not offer everything they had initially asked for.
Nevertheless, the class said it believes the agreement is preferable in light of the coronavirus pandemic, which makes it difficult to determine when the case could move to trial.
News19 notes that 3M has also settled with consumers in other regions. Earlier this week, the Morgan County Commission and Decatur City Council approved settlements totaling $98 million.
3M, adds News19, stopped manufacturing PFAS chemicals nearly two decades sago. However, the microscopic chemicals are known for their longevity and do not break down in water. Their relative resilience has led to them being termed “forever chemicals.”
An attorney for the Tennessee Riverkeeper organization said that, while the settlement is long over-due, they still believe there is significant room for improvement.
“We actually have to work harder going forward to make sure the investigations that we see, that we analyze them closely and that we speak about what’s the right remediation,” Tennessee Riverkeeper attorney Bill Matsikoudis said. “That’s going to be one of the most important environmental decisions in Amereica.”
In the Decatur and Morgan County cases, 3M will use part of the settlement to cap area landfills, clean up the river, build a new recreation center for residents, and replace the Decatur Aquadome.
“In the next year or so, we will start to have discussions and decisions about how the 3M plant site and the river are going to be remediated,” said Matsikoudis.
Matsikoudis expects that 3M will be held accountable, since the settlement provides specific instructions for the company.