Alabama water utility suing 32 Dalton carpet & chemical makers
By Katherine Marchand Monday, October 3rd 2016
Gadsden Water alleges the carpet companies discharged toxic chemicals (perfluorooctanoic acid and perfluorooctane sulfonate) upstream of their water intake site. (Image: MGN)
GADSDEN, Ala. — NewsChannel 9 has learned that the Gadsden, Alabama Water Authority is suing 32 Dalton carpet makers and chemical suppliers, saying the companies are contaminating their water supply.
Read the lawsuit below.
Gadsden Water alleges the carpet companies discharged toxic chemicals (perfluorooctanoic acid and perfluorooctane sulfonate) upstream of their water intake site.
The utility claims the chemicals cannot be removed by their water treatment processes and their customers are now turning to alternate drinking sources, resulting in lost sales.
NewsChannel 9 reached out to all 32 companies named in the lawsuit. Not all of them have responded back, but those who have said they don’t comment on active litigation.
A few told us that they think they’ll be dismissed from the case, because their companies don’t even handle those chemicals or discharge them into the water.
For example, Home Carpet Industries said they were disappointed the Gadsden Water Authority and their attorneys “didn’t do their homework and find out who the responsible parties are. Now we’re hiring attorneys and it’s frustrating.”
Mohawk Industries responded, “While Mohawk Industries policy is not to comment on pending litigation, the company will vigorously defend itself against this and any related actions. Mohawk’s position as an industry leader in sustainable products and processes is undisputed and is a cornerstone of the company’s values.”
Susan Farris, spokesperson for Shaw Industries, said “Shaw employs safe and environmentally sound methods of protecting our carpet products. We are reviewing the complaint in order to better understand the claims.”NewsChannel 9 is working to get more details on this story. Depend on us for updates as we get them.
Health Department responds to Gadsden Water Works and Sewer Board’s recent perfluorinated compounds (PFCs) levels
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: John Guarisco, Ph.D. (334) 206-5971 (ADPH)
The Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH) and the Alabama Department of Environmental Management (ADEM) continue to coordinate with the Gadsden Water Works and Sewer Board to monitor for two PFCs, perfluorooctane sulfate (PFOS) and perfluorooactanoic acid (PFOA), in the community’s local water system. This monitoring has been taking place since May 2016 as a result of an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) health advisory.
As part of the monitoring put in place in May, the ADPH has been notified that the two most recent water testing results from Gadsden showed levels of 84 and 82 parts per trillion. Concentrations confirmed to be consistently above 70 parts per trillion are subject to the EPA recommendations listed in the final health advisory. Over the last 18 weeks, including these two samples, the average of the Gadsden water samples for the levels of PFOA and PFOS is 70 parts per trillion. Because these two recent samples represent an elevation in the levels, monitoring of the water system will continue.
State Toxicologist, Dr. John Guarisco, of the Alabama Department of Public Health states, “The health department, in coordination with ADEM, is monitoring the situation and providing information regarding the EPA health advisory and recent reported levels.” Dr. Guarisco reminds affected consumers that the EPA advisory suggests that sensitive populations such as pregnant women, breastfeeding mothers, and formula fed infants served by identified water systems consider using alternate sources of drinking water. Other people served by these systems may also consider these steps.
According to ADEM records, as of September 2016, the following systems are currently purchasing water from Gadsden Water Works and Sewer Board: Highland Water Authority, Northeast Etowah County Water Co-op, Rainbow City Utilities Board, and Whorton Bend Water & Fire Protection Authority.
EPA defines PFCs as a diverse group of compounds resistant to heat, water and oil. For decades, they have been used in hundreds of industrial applications and consumer products such as carpeting, apparel, upholstery, food paper wrappings, fire-fighting foams and metal plating. PFCs have been found at very low levels both in the environment and in the blood samples of the general U.S. population.
As additional monitoring data becomes available, ADEM will provide that information to ADPH for appropriate recommendations, and will continue to make the data available on its publicly accessible eFile system.
Any questions regarding monitoring should be directed to ADEM at (334) 271-7955, and questions regarding health-related matters should be directed to ADPH at (334) 206-5971.