Read the full article by Catherine Roberts (Minneapolis Star Tribune)
“3M Co., which has spent $100 million on PFAS cleanup in Alabama, on Friday agreed to pay much more in a settlement with the state of Alabama and the Environmental Protection Agency.
Alabama and EPA officials called it a landmark agreement, the “most far-reaching and significant enforcement action to date taken in regard to PFAS in the country.”
3M’s largest litigation settlement regarding PFAS was with the state of Minnesota in February 2018, when it agreed to pay for $850 million in cleanup actions mostly in Washington County.
The Alabama agreement covers 3M’s Decatur, Ala., plant as well as other sites, some not yet identified, in the northwest part of the state.
3M said in a statement it was “fully committed” to fulfilling the consent decree obligations.
There is not a price tag attached to the consent decree. Lynn Battle, spokeswoman for the Alabama Department of Environmental Management, said it is too soon to determine the cost of the damage in dump sites and the Tennessee River.
‘It protects the public from both past and future contaminations, and puts Alabama ahead of the game in regulating these harmful compounds,’ said Lance LeFleur, director of the environmental management department, in a statement.
Separately, 3M already has agreed to a $35 million settlement with a water authority in Alabama.
In the Friday consent decree, 3M agreed to both determine PFAS levels and then take remedial steps, including using specialized water and air control equipment, to reduce their presence at sites identified by the state and EPA. In addition, the company has agreed to do more research to determine the health risks and impacts of PFAS and develop best practices for containing them.
3M last year voluntarily acknowledged to regulators that its Decatur plant illegally released a perfluorinated chemical to the Tennessee River, which supplies drinking water to hundreds of thousands of people…”