3M, DuPont Sued Over Alabama Water Contamination

(CN) – A north Alabama water supplier sued 3M, DuPont and a number of other corporate defendants on Monday for allegedly contributing to chemical contamination in the Coosa River.

The Water Works and Sewer Board of the Town of Centre, Ala., filed suit in Cherokee County Circuit Court, claiming the companies’ release of toxic chemicals upstream from its intake site has negatively impacted its water supply.

Specifically, the board accuses the companies of polluting the Conasauga River, near their manufacturing facilities in Dalton, Ga., with perfluorinated compounds (PFCs), including perfluorooctanoic acid and perfluorooctane sulfonate.

According to the May 15 complaint, the board is responsible for providing drinking water to residential and commercial customers in Cherokee County, Ala. It draws its water supply from nearby Weiss Lake, which is part of the Coosa River Basin.

The Conasauga is one of the Coosa’s five major tributaries.

From the complaint: “Defendants use chemical compounds that contain or degrade into PFCs, including, but not limited to PFOA and PFOS at their facilities to impart water, stain, and grease resistance to their carpet and other textile products. Industrial wastewater discharged from Named and Fictitious Defendants’ manufacturing plants contains high levels of PFCs, including, but not limited to, PFOA and PFOS. These chemicals resist degradation during processing at Dalton Utilities’ wastewater treatment center and contaminate the Conasauga River.”

As a result of the contamination, the water works board has been forced to purchase water from the Cherokee County Water Authority, it claims.

“Centre Water has suffered substantial economic and consequential damage, including, but not limited to, expenses associated with the future installation and operation of a filtration system capable of removing the Named and Fictitious Defendants’ chemicals from the water; expenses incurred to monitor PFC contamination levels; expenses incurred to purchase water from Cherokee County Water Authority; and lost profits and sales,” the complaint states.

In addition to 3M and DuPont, other defendants named in the case include Aladdin Manufacturing, Apricot International, Arrowstar, Beaulieu Group, Beaulieu of America, Daltonian Flooring, Dependable Rug Mills, Dorsett Industries, Dystar, ECMH, Emerald Carpets, Engineered Floors, Fortune Contract, Harcros Chemical, Indian Summer Carpet Mills, Industrial Chemicals, J&J Industries, Kraus USA, Lexmark Carpet Mills, Lyle Industries, MFG Chemical, Milliken & Company, Mohawk Carpet, Mohawk Group, Mohawk Industries, NPC South, Oriental Weavers USA, S & S Mills, Savannah Mills Group, Shaw Industries, Tandus Centiva Inc., Tandus Centiva US, The Dixie Group, Textile Rubber and Chemical, and Victor Carpet Mills.

The complaint includes claims of negligence, trespass and public and private nuisance. Plaintiffs seek injunctive relief, as well as compensatory and punitive damages.

“This suit seeks to hold those responsible who have contributed to the PFC contamination of the Centre water source,” said plaintiff attorney Rhon Jones of Beasley Allen in a statement. “Safe and clean drinking water is vitally important to Centre.”

The board is also represented by Beasley Allen attorneys Jere Beasley, Richard Stratton, Grant Cofer and Ryan Kral, along with Roger Bedford of Bedford and Associates.

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