“A federal judge has ordered The Chemours Co. to allow outside testing of potentially contaminated water to comply with a discovery process involving several lawsuits against the company filed in U.S. District Court.

On Friday, U.S. District Court Judge James Dever III granted the plaintiffs’ joint motion for expedited discovery. The order affects a proposed class action case filed on behalf of North Carolina residents, as well as two other lawsuits filed by Brunswick County and Cape Fear Public Utility Authority (CFPUA).

Lawyers have previously said that different firms representing various lawsuits against Chemours are working together in the discovery process. The unregulated chemical GenX, and other related compounds, have been linked to Chemours’ operations at the Fayetteville Works site in Bladen County. Tha facility is located near the Cape Fear River, about 100 miles upstream from Wilmington.

According to a news release by Cohen Milstein Sellers & Toll, a law firm representing the proposed class action case, the order would ‘allow outside testing of potentially contaminated water as part of the discovery process in a lawsuit that names Chemours as the defendant.’

Ted Leopold of Cohen Milstein was appointed in January by the federal judge as co-lead counsel in the case, along with Stephen Morrissey of Susman Godfrey LLP.

‘The first step in holding Chemours accountable to the people of North Carolina is holding them accountable to the legal process,’ said Leopold in the release. ‘We’re pleased that the judge is ensuring accurate and transparent testing of drinking water and putting a stop to Chemours’ stonewalling.’

Chemours did not immediately respond to requests for comment on the judge’s order.

The lawsuit, which has not yet been certified as a class action case by a federal judge, was consolidated in U.S. District Court in the Eastern District of North Carolina on Jan. 31. It represents several named plaintiffs in the case, while representing all North Carolina residents potentially affected by Chemours’ operations.

The lawsuit alleges that ‘Chemours disregarded internal test results while illegally dumping hazardous chemicals into the river and then misled government regulators about its conduct. Researchers have revealed that GenX is far more toxic than originally thought, may even be airborne and is known to cause cancer and other life-threatening illnesses. Nonetheless, Chemours is pressing regulators to raise the allowable amount of GenX in the Cape Fear River from the current limit of 140 ppt,’ according to the release.”

Read the full article by Christina Haley O’Neal