Shorewood to Enter PFAS Class Action Settlements

Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are a group of more than 5,000 human-made chemicals that do not break down over time. Their extreme resistance to degradation in the environment and resistance to destruction in wastewater treatment plants, landfills, and incinerators has led to the nickname “forever chemicals.”

Since the 1940s, PFAS have been used in many commercial and industrial applications including metal plating, carpeting, waterproof clothing, upholstery, food paper wrappings, cookware, cosmetics, fire-fighting foam, and much more. PFAS continue to be manufactured and used in industrial and commercial products today.

According to the Minnesota Department of Health, many PFAS are known to be health hazards to humans and can also negatively impact aquatic life and wildlife. Many communities throughout the country are dealing with the impact of PFAS on their water supply systems.

In Minnesota, the PFAS Monitoring Project has sampled public water sources throughout the state and identified some amount of PFAS in many community wells. Sampling of Shorewood’s Amesbury wells found a very low but detectable amount of a type of PFAS known as PFBA, which measured at 0.0067 parts per billion (ug/L). This amount is well below the MDH guidance of 7.0 ppb and does not exceed the PFAS Health Risk Index on MDH’s online PFAS Dashboard. The source of the PFBA detected in Shorewood’s wells is unknown. According to MDH, a person drinking water at or below this guidance level would have little to no risk of health effects.

The City of Shorewood has received notice of two nationwide, class action settlements of various claims against DuPont and 3M for the proliferation of PFAS in public water systems. Shorewood is an eligible claimant based on sampling results by MDH. At its meeting on November 27, 2023, the City Council decided to participate in the class action settlements and retained the services of a local law firm on a contingency basis. The firm will help file claims in the settlements and potentially in future lawsuits or settlements with other defendants. In the months ahead, additional testing of all the City’s wells will be completed and settlement claims filed.

Watch the City’s website for updates on PFAS and the settlements.

Additional information can be found at the following links: