Read the full article by Henry Redman (Wisconsin Examiner)

“The City of Eau Claire filed a lawsuit Monday against more than 30 manufacturers of products containing harmful ‘forever chemicals,’ stating in a press release that the companies, not the public, should pay to clean up the contamination the chemicals have caused to public drinking water. 

In a news release, city officials said that the chemicals, known as PFAS, have been found in the city’s wells and groundwater, requiring the city to shut down half of its wells and begin planning for substantial improvements to its water treatment systems. The release states that the city has already spent $1 million responding to PFAS contamination and estimates the costs could rise above $20 million. 

‘The PFAS manufacturers, not the public, should be responsible for these costs,’ the release states. ‘These companies knew long ago that PFAS chemicals were harmful yet failed to warn the public or remove the product from the market, all the while profiting greatly from its continued sale.’

PFAS are a family of manmade chemical compounds that have been connected to health defects such as cancer. They’ve been used for years in products such as firefighting foam, fast food wrappers and household goods such as nonstick pans. The compounds are nicknamed forever chemicals because they don’t easily break down in the environment or the body. 

The chemicals have been found in water supplies across Wisconsin

Lawsuits against PFAS manufacturers have been filed across the country. Last week, residents of the Oneida County town of Stella filed a lawsuit because of extreme levels of PFAS contamination that have been found in residents’ private wells. A class action lawsuit against the manufacturer 3M is currently in settlement discussions in a South Carolina federal court. 

‘The lawsuit filed by the City is a further step to protect the City’s rights and ensure all those responsible for the PFAS contamination at the City Well Fields are held accountable for the clean-up and the damages they have caused,’ the Eau Claire release states. 

State lawmakers are in the process of drafting legislation aimed at providing funding through the Department of Natural Resources to residents and municipalities to test and treat PFAS contamination.”