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March 30, 2023
The Connecticut Law Tribune interviewed partners Paul A. Slager and Ian W. Sloss on the Environmental Protection Agencys's proposed new standards for chemicals in drinking water, which they said could result in more litigation by municipalities seeking to recoup the costs of remediation.
"Local officials are going to realize that they have an obligation to ensure that their drinking systems are free of PFAS," Mr. Sloss told the publication. "And that they will likely turn to the manufacturers of those chemicals for reimbursement and damages related to the remediation efforts that they had to undertake."
This is particularly true in Connecticut, due to its historically high density of manufacturing facilities, the Law Tribune reported.
The EPA’s proposed standard for PFAS, known as “forever chemicals” because of their longevity, would require public water systems to monitor, notify the public of the levels and reduce the levels if they exceed the standards.
“Do the municipalities have to pay for that? Which in a sense means that individual consumers of drinking water, or taxpayers, would have to pay for that,” Mr. Slager told the Law Tribune. “Or do the people who created these chemicals and disseminated them into the water supply have to pay for it? That’s the sort of question that typically spawns litigation, because towns may be faced with significant costs of remediation in order to remove dangerous chemicals from water.”
Mr. Slager and Mr. Sloss represent a group of homeowners in Westminster, Massachusetts, in Ryan v. Greif, a class action against entities responsible for the high levels of PFAS in the plaintiffs’ drinking water.
The article is headlined “New EPA Drinking Water Regulation Could Spark Litigation in Connecticut, Lawyers Say” (subscription required).