The Town of Huntington and the Dix Hills Water District have joined together to file a lawsuit against three companies to pay for the removal of toxic substances from local water supplies.
The lawsuit, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York on Nov. 1, names Albany-based 3M Co., E.I. DuPont de Nemours Inc. and The Chemours, both based in Manhattan, as defendants.
The substances in question are per- and poly-fluoroalkyl, known as PFAS. The compounds are widely used chemicals that break down very slowly over time and are used in everything from cooking pans to firefighter foam, environmental advocates say.
"In our ongoing effort to ensure the safety of our drinking water, the Town is again taking those responsible for the presence of contaminants in our water supply to court," Supervisor Chad A. Lupinacci said in a news release. "The cost of removing these pollutants from our water should not be shouldered by the taxpayer, the defendants are responsible, and we are taking them to court to ensure they pay."
The Dix Hills Water District is a division of the town’s Engineering Services department.
Compliance with new PFAS drinking water standards is not yet required, town officials said, but they added the lawsuit is a proactive measure to comply with the state Health Department’s adoption of new, stricter standards for PFAS.
New York ranks 8th among the 50 states that altogether have 120,000 possible sites releasing potentially carcinogenic PFA class chemicals, environmental advocates said.
Long Island has a total of 445 potential spots where PFAS may have been used or are being used, possibly polluting the air and drinking water, environmental advocates said.
Town officials said the water district is taking "every precaution" necessary to test, monitor, and assess all water supplies for a variety of toxic substances.
On May 20, 2019, the town and the water district filed a lawsuit to hold Midland, Michigan-based The Dow Chemical Co., Mayfield Heights, Ohio-based Ferro Corp., and Birmingham, Alabama-based Vulcan Materials Co. accountable for the costs of removing 1,4-dioxane from local water supplies.
Town attorney Nicholas Ciappetta said that case is still in the discovery phase.