The PFAS Project Lab

Studying Social, Scientific, and Political Factors of Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances

Etowah County (Gadsden, Rainbow City and Southside), Alabama

Suspected contamination source: 3M and Carpet makers and suppliers in the Dalton, Ga area (Flessner, 2016)

The Gadsden Water Works and Sewer Board in Gadsden, Ala., claims carpet makers and suppliers, mostly in the Dalton, Ga., area, released potentially dangerous chemicals used in stain-resistant carpet into the Coosa River from which Gadsden and nearby communities get their water supply.

Gadsden Water utilizes the Coosa River as its raw water source, specifically drawing its source water from Lake Neely Henry in the Middle Coosa Basin.

In September 2016 Gadsden’s Water Works and Sewer Board has filed a lawsuit against more than 30 carpet and textile companies and chemical suppliers, saying they are responsible for polluting the city’s water. The suit contends that the companies named use the two chemicals for water, stain and grease resistance in their carpet and textile products.

The industrial wastewater discharged from their plants contained high levels of the chemicals, which “resist degradation during processing at Dalton (Ga.) Utilities’ wastewater treatment center and contaminate the Conasauga River. The
Conasauga River is one of the Coosa River’s five major tributaries,” the suit states.

The suit seeks punitive and compensatory damages, as the contamination will incur expenses for the “future installation and operation of a filtration system capable of removing (the) chemicals.”

Additional information:

Read the fact sheet the EPA released on Decatur here

Media Coverage:

Full citations are available on the second page of the full contamination site tracker. We ask for your additions, changes, questions and comments be sent to

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