Per- and polyfluorinatedalkyl substances (PFAS), also known as forever chemicals, can lead to health complications, including cancer and negative impacts on: reproduction, thyroid function, the immune system, and growth and development. The State of Colorado through the Colorado Department of Law, filed a lawsuit in February of 2022 seeking compensation from PFAS manufacturers for harm to Colorado’s residents, lands, and natural resources, including water supplies.
What is important to know about Colorado’s PFAS lawsuit?
- The PFAS lawsuit claims damages for harms to water providers, local governments, and special districts that have been impacted by PFAS contamination. These entities do not need to file their own suits to be eligible to receive a portion of any funds ultimately recovered in this lawsuit.
- Any funds recovered in the PFAS lawsuit are expected to be used to clean up PFAS contamination.
- If you are a water provider, local government, or special district, we recommend you understand your area’s PFAS exposure through testing or coordination with the Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment. More information on PFAS testing is available here. https://cdphe.colorado.gov/pfas-water.
- Water providers, local governments, and special districts can share information on the impacts of PFAS on their area’s natural resources and operations with the Colorado Attorney General’s Office. If you are a water provider, local government, or special district and are interested in providing information, please email email@example.com.
- The Attorney General’s Office will work collaboratively with stakeholders across the State to equitably distribute any funds recovered in Colorado’s PFAS lawsuit.
- The Department of Law will work with other states to achieve best negotiated outcomes for Colorado, when feasible.
What are the latest developments in the lawsuit?
- The State of Colorado filed a lawsuit in February of 2022 seeking compensation from PFAS manufacturers.
- Colorado’s lawsuit, along with thousands of other lawsuits, have been consolidated in a national multi-district litigation (MDL) in one federal court – the United States District Court for the District of South Carolina. The case is proceeding in the discovery stage.
The MDL court also has its own website: (https://www.scd.uscourts.gov/mdl-2873/index.asp) that contains general information about the litigation.
I have read about a settlement, how will that affect Colorado’s interests?
- Certain PFAS manufacturer defendants, primarily 3M, Dupont, Chemours, and Corteva have reached a class settlement with some public drinking water providers, and the MDL court has granted preliminary approval of the settlement. This class settlement only impacts certain public drinking water providers and does not impact Colorado’s continuing involvement in the MDL, discussed above.
- If you are a Public Water System, you should carefully review the approved settlement documents to determine if you are part of the settlement class and understand any rights and obligations you may have under the settlement. There are important deadlines to keep in mind when reviewing the settlement materials. More information on the settlement agreements is available at: https://www.pfaswatersettlement.com/.
What should Public Water Systems know about the class settlement?
- Two separate public water provider class settlement agreements relate to Public Water Systems that have or suspect PFAS contamination in their source water: one settlement agreement is with 3M, and the second settlement agreement is with Dupont, Chemours, and Corteva. While there are a lot of similarities between the two agreements, there are some differences in which entities are eligible to receive funds under the agreements.
- It is important to understand that both the 3M and the DuPont/Chemours/Corteva class settlement agreements are mandatory class settlements. This means that any eligible water provider that does not affirmatively “opt out” of the class settlement will be included in the settlement, and its claims against these entities for PFAS contamination will be released. Public Water Systems that are eligible class members can choose to opt out of either or both of the class settlement agreements.
- The deadline to opt out of the DuPont/Chemours/Corteva class settlement is December 4, 2023.
- The deadline to opt out of the 3M class settlement is December 11, 2023.
- Any eligible water provider that does not affirmatively opt out is automatically part of the settlement class. If the provider remains in the settlement class but does not submit the Claim form, it will not receive any funds even though it did not opt out.
- 3M and Dupont have set up a website where public water providers can go to get additional information about the class settlement agreements. Claim forms and procedures are available through the class settlement website. The website also allows water systems to enter information and obtain an estimated allocation of the settlement funds they may receive. The website is available here: https://www.pfaswaterprovidersettlement.com/.
The Department of Law will continue to vigorously fight for Coloradoans right to a healthy and safe environment. To learn more about our department’s work to protect our land, air, and water please click here.