Mineola, Roslyn, Port name chemical companies in contaminant suit

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Mineola, Roslyn, Port name chemical companies in contaminant suit
The village of Mineola has joined Roslyn and Port Washington in filing civil lawsuits against chemical companies deemed responsible for contaminating local water wells. (Photo by Jed Hendrixson)

The Village of Mineola has joined the Roslyn and Port Washington water districts in filing lawsuits against chemical manufacturing companies demanding damages be paid for contaminants found in their water systems.

The defendants are the 3M Co., Dyneon LLC, E.I. DuPont de Nemours and Co. and the Chemours Co. The suits allege that the contaminants found in local water wells come from these companies’ products.

Mineola Clerk Joseph Scalero said that the village’s water is still safe to drink and this legal action is to meet a financial need. According to Scalero, with new state limits being set on contaminants in water systems, the village will have to pay for improvements to the water system.

Scalero said that the suit is meant to go after “the ones who caused the pollution.”

Representatives from the Port Washington and Roslyn water districts were not immediately available for comment.

The Aug. 9 lawsuit said, “The village brings this action to recover the substantial costs necessary to protect the public and restore its damaged drinking water supply wells.”

According to the lawsuit, these contaminants are toxic per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances (“PFAS”), including, but limited to perfluorooctanoic acid (“PFOA”) and/or perfluorooctane sulfonic acid (PFOS).

“3M acted responsibly in connection with products containing PFAS and will vigorously defend its record of environmental stewardship,” said 3M spokeswoman Fanna Haile-Selassie.

DuPont did not respond to requests for comment.

The lawsuits by the village and two water districts state that the companies “manufactured, marketed, sold, and/or promoted” product containing PFOAs, PFOS and other PFAS. Court documents state that PFAS have been used in the past for household and commercial products designed to be heat-resistant, stain-resistant, long-lasting, and water- and oil-repellant.

Court documents state that PFOA is among the most toxic chemicals in the PFAS family.

The suit also alleges that the defendants knew the dangers of PFAS being highly soluble in water, which makes them likely to contaminate surface and groundwater, including drinking supplies, and can present risks to human health and welfare when released into the environment.

Court documents said that PFOA has been found in three of Mineola’s five wells, in “nearly all” of Port Washington’s 12 water production wells, and at least four of Roslyn’s seven wells.

According to court documents, the village of Mineola provides water to 19,000 residents, the Port Washington Water District provides water to 30,000 residents and the Roslyn Water District provides water to 5,780 residents.

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