Lawrence County residents celebrate 3M drinking water settlement

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LAWRENCE COUNTY, Ala. – Things were different in Lawrence County on Friday. After years of uncertainty and agony, residents were jubilant after learning 3M settled with the West Morgan East Lawrence water authority in a drinking water contamination lawsuit.

“Oh! I’m so excited. I’m so glad that 3M stepped up to plate and decided to help us. I’m really glad,” said Brenda Hampton.

On Friday morning, Minnesota based corporation 3M released a statement announcing it had reached a settlement with the WMEL water authority. The authority had sued in the fall of 2015 alleging the company had contaminated its drinking water with perfluorinated chemicals. The statement says it brings the litigation to an end, but did not provide any information about the financial terms of the agreement.

Many residents WHNT News 19 spoke with in Lawrence County doubted this day would ever come. Hampton has led the grassroots movement, fighting for clean drinking water in Lawrence County for years. She says prayer and persistence have led to a solution for the residents.

The WMEL Water Authority plans to install a reverse osmosis system. A joint statement released by the chemical manufacturing giant and non-profit water authority indicates residents won’t need to pay for the advanced filtration system.

“It takes a big burden off the people of Lawrence County,” said Hampton.

Darrius Bell says standing up for what’s right is paying off for future generations. Bell is proud of his community for refusing to back down.

“Lawrence County is a place that will never give up. We got hope, and we got faith,” said Bell.

Residents also expressed appreciation for WHNT News 19’s reporting on the water quality issues.

“Thank you so much WHNT for being with us, for sticking with us and for seeing that we were in need of getting our story out,” said Hampton.

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