“A previously derailed multimillion-dollar settlement between West Morgan-East Lawrence Water Authority and Daikin over contaminated drinking water is back on track, ending the need for a rate increase to pay for a temporary filtration system.
West Morgan-East Lawrence today confirmed the $4 million settlement after filing a notice with a federal court Tuesday of its plan to settle the case and dismiss its claims against Daikin America Inc. The settlement does not prevent its customers from pursuing separate claims, either individually or through a class action.
The authority borrowed $4 million to finance construction of a carbon filtration system that has effectively removed toxic industrial chemicals from drinking water that is drawn from the Tennessee River through an intake about 16 miles downstream of Daikin, 3M Co. and its subsidiary Dyneon LLC. All three companies previously produced perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA). 3M and Dyneon produced and dumped both PFOA and perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS), according to several lawsuits filed against them.
‘We are pleased that Daikin honored the settlement agreement reached last year,’ said Don Sims, general manager of the authority. ‘Removing the (chemicals) from the finished water and the customers not having to pay for the (granulated activated carbon) system has always been our priority. This is excellent news.’…
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in 2016 released a health advisory specifying the threshold levels at which PFOS and PFOA were deemed unsafe. The advisory instructed utilities to ‘promptly notify customers’ if levels of the chemicals in drinking water exceeded that amount.
West Morgan-East Lawrence notified its customers that its PFOA and PFOS levels exceeded EPA’s recommended threshold. Because conventional filtration systems do not remove the chemicals, the authority then issued a bond to pay for a temporary carbon system.
A $5 million settlement previously agreed to by the authority and Daikin settled claims asserted both by the authority and a class consisting of its 21,000 direct and indirect customers. That settlement was rejected June 4 by the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.
The settlement announced today only resolves the authority’s claims against Daikin, and has no impact on any claims its customers may have against the companies or against the authority.”
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