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Portland Water District Joins Wastewater Multidistrict Law Suit (MDL) Against PFAS Manufacturers

06.05.2024

The Portland Water District (PWD) filed a complaint in the U.S. District Court, against manufacturers of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) chemicals, 3M, DuPont, and others. The suit seeks to recover costs associated with PFAS mitigation in wastewater treatment, including treatment byproducts, effluent, and biosolids.

Protecting public health, safety, and the environment is PWD’s top priority. By taking legal action against manufacturers of PFAS, PWD is holding accountable those responsible for pollution,” stated PWD’s General Manager Seth Garrison. 

PFAS are persistent, toxic, and bioaccumulative compounds that are found in numerous products. They have been found virtually everywhere in the environment. PFAS contamination impacts both surface water (lakes, rivers, oceans, etc.) and groundwater, as well as soils and living organisms. The widespread presence of PFAS in consumer and commercial products means PFAS is present in landfills and wastewater treatment systems.

Even though there is no measurable PFAS in Greater Portland’s drinking water, it has been found in wastewater. PWD’s four treatment facilities show 15-32 parts per trillion (ppt) of PFAS in the effluent.

In response to PFAS contamination, Maine became the first and only state in the nation to end the beneficial use (land application) of wastewater biosolids, which created a series of challenges for Maine’s wastewater systems and produced landfill capacity problems. As a result, PWD has taken a proactive approach to finding solutions for biosolids management, including commissioning a Biosolids Master Plan to examine steps to manage PFAS-containing biosolids.

In collaboration with a team of law firms, SL Environmental Law Group is handling the Portland Water District’s case along with several other wastewater systems across the country.

PWD is also a claimant in a federal multi-district case related to water utilities and PFAS contamination. Because PWD has no measurable PFAS in the drinking water, it is designated as a Class 2 claimant and reimbursement will be limited to covering the costs of the extra testing that has been required.

PWD is committed to protecting public health and supports keeping PFAS out of the environment. It supports efforts to reduce PFAS at its sources, including keeping them out of consumer products. PWD is proactively engaged at the local, state, and national levels, exploring solutions to combat the widespread PFAS problem.

 

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