The Jurupa Community Services District (JCSD) has joined thousands of other entities nationwide in suing DuPont, 3M Company and other manufacturers whose chemical products have turned up in public water systems, exposing consumers to contamination threats, according to the plaintiffs.
The JCSD filed suit last week through SL Environmental Law Group against 3M Company, E.I. DuPont de Nemours, Inc., and other manufacturers of aqueous film-forming foam (AFFF). The lawsuit is based on the AFFF manufacturer’s involvement in producing and selling per and poly-fluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) that have contaminated water supplies that JCSD relies upon to provide drinking water throughout its service area.
“JCSD has worked to identify and treat water from wells contaminated with PFAS to ensure the safe use of these crucial water supplies,” said Chris Berch, JCSD’s General Manager. “Through this lawsuit, we seek the costs of cleaning up these contaminants are borne by 3M, DuPont, and the other companies that sold and profited from their products containing PFAS, not our ratepayers.”
PFAS have been used for decades in AFFF, certain industrial processes, and in the production of thousands of common household and commercial products that are heat resistant, stain resistant, long-lasting, and water and oil repellant. The PFAS family of chemicals is entirely artificial and does not naturally exist in nature.
According to published reports, nearly 6,500 government entities and other plaintiffs have filed civil actions against the chemical makers. The suits are being consolidated by a federal judge in South Carolina.
“The manufacturers and sellers of PFAS-containing products–3M, DuPont, and other defendants–knew that these products would likely pollute groundwater, yet they failed to take reasonable and available steps to avoid the use of PFAS in products and failed to provide warnings that using these products as directed could result in groundwater contamination,” said Ken Sansone, partner at SL Environmental Law Group. “Through this lawsuit, JCSD is asserting its rights under California law to ensure the quality and availability of water resources to the thousands of citizens and businesses who rely on those resources. JCSD wants to ensure that it is the corporations whose products are responsible for contaminating large portions of its water supplies that pay the substantial costs of cleaning it up.”