Alabama City Officials Drop Chemical Contamination Lawsuit

September 25, 2020

Officials in the northwest Alabama city of Guin have dropped a lawsuit against chemical giant 3M that alleged chemicals from its manufacturing plant had entered a creek that supplies drinking water to the community.

The Guin Water works & Sewer Board said Tuesday it will now work with the company and state officials to investigate and address the presence of the chemicals in “the local water supply, the 3M Guin Industrial Landfill and the GWWSB sewer treatment facility”, AL.com reported.

The lawsuit filed earlier this month had accused the company of knowingly disposing per- and polyfluoroalkyl, or PFAS chemicals, without taking precautions to prevent them from entering the creek, according to the newspaper.

The substances are in a family known as “forever chemicals” because they do not degrade in the environment. The Environmental Protection Agency says exposure to these chemicals can lead to adverse health effects, including cancer.

A joint statement from the parties said the board will be retaining its right to refile a lawsuit if the joint effort does “not result in a satisfactory solution.”

3M, which has faced multiple lawsuits over contamination, reached an agreement with the state of Alabama in July regarding cleanup of forever chemicals at its plant in Decatur and at multiple sites in the northwest part of the state.

Guin is about 80 miles (130 kilometers) northwest of Birmingham.

3M’s facility in the city, which has been in operation since 1955, manufactures microscopic glass bubbles, pavement tape for roads, sheeting for road signs and other products.

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