York Sewer District sues PFAS manufacturers

Oct. 25, 2023
York Sewer District is working with SL Environmental Law Group in a lawsui PFAS manufacturers after finding PFAS in wastewater effluent and biosolids.

SL Environmental Law Group has filed a lawsuit on behalf of York Sewer District against manufacturers of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS).

The suit targets 3M Company, E.I. DuPont de Nemours Inc., and other manufacturers.

The case was filed following sampling of wastewater effluent and biosolids (sludge) from the District’s wastewater treatment plant serving York, Maine. Sampling indicated contamination of the wastewater system from mostly household residential sources, as York has no significant industry.

 “At York Sewer District we are proudly working to hold polluters accountable,” said Phil Tucker, Superintendent of York Sewer District. “Our rate payers are our top priority. Like so many across the State of Maine, York Sewer District is concerned about the impact of these chemicals to our health, infrastructure, and finances. Therefore, we thought it critical to partner with SL Environmental on this unprecedented matter.”

Due to the widespread use of these compounds in commercial and consumer products, PFAS tend to concentrate in wastewater streams, making wastewater treatment plants potential avenues of PFAS contamination.

Though not currently regulated at the federal level, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has strongly encouraged wastewater treatment plants to test for suspected upstream PFAS sources using the latest sampling methods and effluent guidelines. A risk assessment for PFOA and PFOS in biosolids is also expected to be released by the winter of 2024.

In the absence of federal guidelines, some states have begun enacting wastewater regulations for PFAS. In Maine specifically, the Department of Environmental Protection has the authority to order the cleanup of PFAS contaminated sites or seek compensation from responsible parties to pay for that clean up, and a recently enacted law prohibits the spreading of PFAS-laden sludge and sludge-derived compost as fertilizer.

SL Environmental Law Group has represented municipalities and water providers across the nation in efforts to recover the costs of treating drinking water and wastewater contamination from the corporations whose products caused the pollution. In collaboration with a team of law firms, SL Environmental Law Group is handling York Sewer District’s case along with several water systems in Maine and more than 100 entities across the country affected by PFAS.