Yet another lawsuit filed over contaminated drinking water

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

MOULTON, Ala. - Another lawsuit has been filed over the contaminated water from the West Morgan East Lawrence Water Authority.

The lawsuit lists roughly 160 plaintiffs, all of them residents of Morgan or Lawrence Counties, and all of them customers of the West Morgan East Lawrence Water Authority.

The defendants are 3M, the Dyneon Corporation, Daikin and the West Morgan East Lawrence Water Authority.

The suit accuses the defendants of negligence, wantonness and recklessness; the industries for allowing PFOA and PFOS compounds to be released into the Tennessee River, and the water authority for failing to adequately filter the compounds from its finished drinking water. It says the defendants, "knew or should have known that the compounds were dangerous to the health and safety" of those who were exposed to them. It alleges the continued presence of the compounds in drinking water constitutes a nuisance and amounts to battery against the plaintiffs.

It seeks unspecified damages and an injunction requiring the removal of the compounds from the river and drinking water.

For the record, 3M stopped making the compounds years ago. However, because so much of it was dumped at the Morgan County Landfill, it is leaching out and winds up at the Dry Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant, operated by Decatur Utilities. Despite the growing body of evidence regarding their ill effects on humans, the compounds are not regulated. Decatur Utilities has a permit to discharge an unlimited quantity of the compounds directly into the river, just upstream from where they are picked up by the West Morgan East Lawrence Water Authority's intake.

It should be noted the finished water from the West Morgan East Lawrence system was in compliance with all state and federal regulations until last May when the Environmental Protection Agency changed the guidelines regarding PFOA and PFOS levels in drinking water. Days later, on June 2nd, the water authority advised people not to drink their water. Most recent test results show the level of those compounds is well within the new guidelines, and a new filtration system is being installed to remove even more.