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City of Newark to receive around $1million from class-action lawsuits over PFAS

Meg Roessler
Delaware Public Media

The City of Newark signs on to class-action lawsuits against two companies for their role in creating “forever chemicals” that end up in drinking water.

The city will receive around $1 million from two settlements with Dupont and 3M, not nearly enough to cover the cost of treatment facilities and improvements the city needs to meet new federal standards for PFAS according to City Manager Tom Coleman.

“As a result of 60 plus years of using these chemicals, they’re showing up everywhere. They are coming down in the rain, if you test the snow in Antarctica, it’s in that, it’s everywhere. It’s a carcinogen, bad for health generally, so it’s very important that we take them out of the water.”

Coleman says combined, two projects – the South Well Field and Curtis Water Treatment Plants – are a $20 million capital investment with about a $2.5 million increase in operating expenses – a 25 percent increase from the current water budget which residents will likely see in next year’s budget proposal.

“We’re looking at $20 million worth of capital improvements," Coleman says. "There is federal money coming, but it’s not nearly enough for how widespread the problem is across the country. I think there is single-digit billions coming from the federal government, and we probably need more like 50 or more.”

3M will distribute up to $12 billion nationwide for chemicals used in firefighting foam they manufacture. The State of Delaware recently entered a separate lawsuit with 3M over chemical contamination from firefighting foam, and also previously reached a $50 million settlement with DuPont, Corteva and Chemours over their roles in PFAS contamination in 2021.

Coleman says Dupont’s nationwide settlement is just over $1 billion.

Rachel Sawicki was born and raised in Camden, Delaware and attended the Caesar Rodney School District. They graduated from the University of Delaware in 2021 with a double degree in Communications and English and as a leader in the Student Television Network, WVUD and The Review.