ADEM Director addresses holding 3M accountable with recent consent order

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DECATUR, Ala. – Just days ago the Alabama Department of Environmental Management announced a consent order with 3M that requires the company to clean up any PFAS- contaminated sites in North Alabama, ones known and any discovered in the future.

But the ability to monitor 3M progress and hold the company accountable is something that concerns some area citizens.

ADEM Director Lance LeFleur was in Decatur Monday. He said 3M has to hold up its end of the deal. If not, the consent agreement will hold up in a court of law.

“This is a legal agreement, it is enforceable in the courts and 3M understands that they have responsibilities under this agreement, and responsibilities laid out as, as you know, it’s a very extensive document covers air, land, water, groundwater surface water,” LeFleur explained. “It’s very comprehensive, and it is an enforceable legal document.”

LeFleur said he does not expect the change to happen overnight, but as of Friday the clock has started on 3M’s obligations under the order.

“We are currently involved in the identification phase, that’s the, the beginning of all of this,” he added. “A dozen sites, dump sites, have been identified already. There will be more no doubt. And there are other sites where pfas are found to be present.”

The ADEM director said court proceedings for environmental issues can be long and drawn out, and the consent order approach goes beyond what would be possible to do under current regulations. As he sees it, LeFleur said national standards for PFAS compounds are several years away. The consent order allows the state to take action immediately.

WHNT News 19 went deeper into the details of the order Monday.

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