Updates Surrounding Groundwater Contamination Litigation

In 2018, 3M Company agreed to settle decades-long litigation surrounding the contamination of the groundwater in the east metro of Minnesota. Here, the environmental litigation attorneys at The Law Offices of Peter Angelos P.C. detail recent updates to ongoing groundwater contamination litigation as well as the environmental repercussions of unethical and unsustainable practices by large corporations.

 Groundwater Contamination and the Effects

Groundwater contamination is a serious and escalating issue that impacts almost every aspect of our lives, as clean water is absolutely essential to the health and vitality of human beings, plant life and the environment. When our clean water supply becomes tainted or contaminated with chemicals, waste or other toxic materials, the consequences can be disastrous.

Groundwater contamination occurs when man-made or synthetic materials such as oil, gas, salts, chemicals and other contaminants seep into the groundwater and make it hazardous for humans, animals and surrounding ecosystems. The most common causes of these groundwater contaminations include leaks from storage tanks, septic systems, hazardous waste sites and landfills in addition to leaks from dangerous materials produced by negligent businesses. Exposure to contaminated groundwater can lead to severe and life-threatening illness in human beings.

 Decades-Long Litigation in Several States Demonstrate the Effects of Unsafe Practices

The history of groundwater contamination as a result of unsafe business or industrial practices extends for decades in the United States. Most recently, data collected on Missouri power plants showed that large coal waste pits created high levels of toxic contamination in ponds where the power plants deposit combustion waste. While solid waste officials on the case expect to begin regulation on the health of these ponds in the future, years of unregulated disposal of coal ash into these bodies of water could have drastic consequences for communities surrounding the area as well as the health of the environment.

In addition, 3M Company, a multinational corporation specializing in the fields of industry and consumer goods has been facing years of litigation as a result of the discovery of groundwater contaminated with perfluorinated chemical (PFCs) in Minnesota, where 3M is based. It was alleged that this significant groundwater contamination case was a result of unsustainable and careless practices by 3M that led to the leakage of consumer products like Teflon and Scotchguard into four different sites. The litigation was mitigated with an extensive settlement payout in 2018.

3M Company Ended Ongoing Groundwater Contamination Litigation with Multi-Million Dollar Settlement

As a result of decades-long contamination of east metro groundwater in Minnesota, 3M Company decided to pay a settlement of $850 million in 2018—the largest environmental settlement in the history of Minnesota. According to 3M officials, the settlement allows the corporation to address contamination in the metro area in an effort to reconcile the contamination issue and clean up drinking water. The significant settlement made by 3M to end groundwater contamination litigation against them will ultimately be used to jumpstart initiatives to continue cleanup of local water sources and support the 67,000 east metro residents that were impacted by the contamination.

 Discuss Your Case with an Environmental Litigation Attorney at The Law Offices of Peter Angelos P.C.

Big businesses have a critical duty to ensure their industrial and waste disposal practices take into consideration and not negatively impact public and environmental health, as unethical practices can have destructive effects on our society and planet.

The environmental litigation attorneys at The Law Offices of Peter Angelos P.C. are here to protect the rights and safety of Maryland residents who have been exposed to groundwater contamination, and we encourage anyone who may believe that local groundwater sources may have been contaminated to contact our Baltimore firm immediately.