PHILADELPHIA – The National Association of Water Companies (NAWC) today issued a statement from the Association’s President and CEO Robert F. Powelson on class action lawsuits against water utilities over PFAS:
“While class action lawsuits often drive positive social change, the recent claims against water utilities for ‘forever chemicals’ found in drinking water are severely misguided.
“Water utilities do not use, manufacture, or profit from forever chemicals like PFAS and PFOA. However, they are on the front lines of cleaning up this contamination and are grappling with the billions of dollars in costs associated with this effort. NAWC’s utilities are committed to providing customers with safe drinking water. They have been addressing PFAS chemicals found in their in their water sources and will work diligently to comply with forthcoming guidance from the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
“It is important to remember that it is the purview of the experts at the EPA to determine whether and at what amounts a chemical is unsafe and should be removed from the nation’s drinking water. We must allow the EPA’s experts to conduct the requisite analysis to establish an appropriate national a drinking water standard for PFAS, rather than individual utilities getting in front of the regulatory process and making scattershot determinations about what is safe. A well-researched, uniform national drinking water standard set by the EPA for PFAS is a much better outcome for everyone.
“The companies that created forever chemicals, and generated billions, if not trillions, of dollars in profits by introducing PFAS into the environment must be held accountable for the costs of removing forever chemicals from our water – not water utilities and consumers. NAWC’s members are seeking to achieve this by either participating in a class action lawsuit or pursuing individual litigation against the chemical manufacturers.
“Lawsuits against utilities for the forever chemicals found in drinking water are directed at the wrong party. NAWC’s water utilities are already doing the right thing – testing their systems and taking steps to treat for PFAS chemicals while waiting for the EPA to issue final guidance on a national drinking water standard for these chemicals. In the meantime, water systems and their customers are already taking on disproportionate financial responsibility for cleaning up a problem they did not create. Rather than bringing litigation against the water utilities that are working to remediate this contamination, we should all work to hold accountable those who are truly responsible for the problem.