Dupont and its spinoff companies Corteva and The Chemours Co., have set up a $4-billion escrow account for 20 years to support future legacy PFAS chemicals liabilities from manufacturiing and disposal activity occurring before July 1, 2015 and another $1 billion to address future liabilities with a possibility of replenishment in 2028.
John Gardella, an attorney at Boston-based law firm CMBG3, told ENR that the Jan. 22 pact is significant because it signals to municipalities or water treatment facilities available funding to cover drinking water system treatment and remediation. A group in California filed suit late last yearagainst Dupont and other manufacturers seeking $1 billion to cover surface water and groundwater cleanups ongoing.
“I’d expect an uptick again in the claims we see against the companies by municipalities,” he said.
The settlement also establishes a cost sharing agreement between the three companies and resolves disputes among them rising from the 2015 spin-off of Chemours from DuPont.
The companies also added $83 million to resolve personal injury and wrongful death claims in a multidistrict lawsuit in Ohio stemming from lawsuits filed as a result of PFAS contamination of drinking water from DuPont’s Washington Works near Parkersburg, W.Va.
The suit has more than 3,500 cases pending, according to the Ohio circuit court. About 80,000 persons who consumed water from certain drinking water sources, including six water districts allegedly contaminated by discharges from the Washington Works plant were part of a class action, the court said.
The Ohio agreement resolves about 95% of pending cases and unfiled matters, DuPont says.
It adds to a growing trend of injury settlements that is likely to spark more downstream claims against companies other than the chemical manufacturers, such as those that used the chemicals to produce goods including those used in construction, Gardella says.