TRINITY, Ala. – Here’s a story we’ve been all over since it first broke. And this is great news for customers of the West Morgan East Lawrence Water Authority. Attorneys have reached a partial settlement in the lawsuit that the water authority filed against 3M and Daikin America last year. Daikin has agreed to pay for the new filtration system that’s now being installed. And there will be money left over to distribute among the water authority’s customers.
The West Morgan East Lawrence Water Authority Board of Directors went into executive session this morning to review the settlement. It means their customers will not have to bear the cost of the temporary GAC or granulated activated carbon filtration system that’s being installed now – no rate hike. The $3.9 million system will go online next month and remove at least 99% of PFOA and PFOS contaminates.
Attorneys had nothing but praise for the Daikin team.
“But they are recognizing a problem and they are helping us and helping the water authority remedy the problem for now. It’s the first step, like I say,” explains Fred Friedman, one of several attorneys handling the lawsuit.
Under the terms of the settlement, Daikin will pay the water authority $5 million. $3.9 million will cover the cost of the new filtration system. Another $450,000 will be distributed back to ratepayers. The remainder will cover the authority’s expenses in the matter thus far. The settlement must be approved by a federal court judge.
“We have a program that’s going to take this water authority three years out and keep our water safe and wholesome and it’s going to meet all standards,” Friedman says. And at no cost to customers. Now, Friedman says, they’ll take the fight to 3M and Dyneon claiming Lawrence and Morgan County residents shouldn’t have to pay the cost of cleaning up their mess.
Attorneys tell us Daikin admitted no liability in the settlement agreement, and they point out neither this lawsuit, nor settlement is connected to any claims of damage or injury. There’s no word on when the federal court will review the proposed settlement.