This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated.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.DECATUR, Ala. – A series of interesting events happened before and after 3M disclosed it failed to obey federal law by releasing certain manufacturing chemicals or the waste of those chemicals into the Tennessee River. 3M sent that disclosure letter in April. WHNT News 19 was told just weeks before the EPA may have been at 3M’s plant in Decatur in mid-March. WHNT News 19 went through official channels at the EPA to find out if it happened. As of Thursday, the agency has been unable to confirm. Here’s what we do know:
- March 28 – WHNT News 19 asked the EPA if a meeting took place at the 3M plant in Decatur.
- April 2 – A public affairs specialist for EPA Region 4 responded to WHNT News 19, saying they weren’t able to find any information concerning EPA involvement.
- April 3 – 3M sent a letter to the EPA disclosing that it violated the Toxic Substances Control Act by releasing chemical FBSA into the Tennessee River.
- The company notes it also may have released a similar chemical FBSEE.
- April 3 – The West Morgan-East Lawrence Water Authority general manager signed a settlement agreement with 3M.
- The water authority received $28.5 million from 3M to settle its drinking water contamination lawsuit.
- April 4 – 3M notified The Alabama Department of Environmental Management (ADEM) that it violated the TSCA by releasing FBSA into the river.
- June 14 – WHNT News 19 discovers 3M’s letter reporting the illegal chemical release and reports it to the public.
- June 19 – WHNT News 19 finds 3M reported its discharge of the chemical to ADEM for years.
“I have called for EPA and ADEM to investigate and take appropriate action about this in the past, and this additional revelation adds a new sense of urgency to my concerns.” Jones said in a statement. “I remain committed to working with federal, state, and local authorities to ensure the health and safety of all Alabamians.”The EPA said it cannot comment any further due to an open investigation into the matter. WHNT News 19 is still working to learn more about the chemical release and what it means for residents in North Alabama.