Turn to the nation's most objective and informative daily environmental news resource to learn how the United States and key players around the world are responding to the environmental...
Feb. 24 — Residents of Hoosick Falls, N.Y., filed a class action lawsuit Feb. 24 in federal court against Saint-Gobain Performance Plastics Corp. and Honeywell International Inc., seeking damages for contamination of their water supply with perfluorooctanoic acid.
The lawsuit alleges that the two companies are responsible for contaminating the municipal drinking water supply and private wells in the village located 35 miles northeast of Albany.
The lawsuit opens a new front for the companies, which are already facing potential liability under the state Superfund law and have been meeting with state officials to discuss remedial work. Saint-Gobain also has provided bottled water and funded a water filtration system.
Saint-Gobain operates a manufacturing plant in Hoosick Falls, as did Honeywell's predecessor, Allied-Signal Inc.. Both companies were named by New York as potentially responsible parties for remediation of a number of sites under the state Superfund law.
The lawsuit, which was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of New York by the New York City firm Weitz & Luxenberg, alleges claims of negligence, public nuisance, trespass and strict liability for abnormally dangerous activity.
The four plaintiffs are seeking punitive damages and monetary damages in connection with the contamination of their properties with perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA). The suit said the exact size of the class would be ascertained in discovery, but the two subclasses include those who receive water from the municipal water supply and those who receive it from private wells.
The suit also seeks additional testing, installation of permanent water filtration systems and remedial steps to clean up the contamination.
“While Saint-Gobain has acted quickly and openly since learning of the presence of PFOA in the drinking water supply in the Village of Hoosick Falls, we respect the right of individuals to pursue their claims in a court of law,” Dina Silver Pokedoff, a spokeswoman for the company, told Bloomberg BNA in an e-mail.
“Saint-Gobain has, and will continue to work with the local, state and federal agencies to investigate the source of the PFOA in the drinking water,” she said. “Saint-Gobain, as a member of this community and the largest employer, remains committed to funding clean drinking water—from providing bottled water for the community and most recently, through funding the installation of a temporary water filtration system, which should be fully online in the coming days.”
The company has also agreed to fund a long-term filtration system in the village, she said.
Victoria Streitfeld, a spokeswoman for Honeywell, said the company has also offered assistance for a program for private wells “that complements the testing being offered by public agencies and the work done by Saint-Gobain.”
“Honeywell is doing a review to understand the historic operations by our predecessor, Allied Signal Laminated Systems Inc., which operated in Hoosick Falls between 1986 and 1996,” Streitfeld told Bloomberg BNA in an e-mail. “After selling the business in 1996, Allied Signal Laminated Systems conducted several site investigations and received ‘no further action’ letters from the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation.”
“Regulations did not require testing for PFOA at the time,” she said. “Although we do not have complete information, it appears that operations at several of these facilities used polytetrafluoroethylene that may have contained PFOA as an additive or ingredient in the manufacture of fabric, films and tapes.”
PFOA is a chemical used in the manufacture of non-stick cookware and other consumer products that resist heat and repel oil, grease and water. It was detected in the Hoosick water supply in 2014 at levels that exceed Environmental Protection Agency standards, and the state Department of Health has determined that Hoosick residents should not use the water for drinking or cooking.
The lawsuit said the companies “negligently, recklessly, and/or intentionally failed to properly control, apply, use and/or dispose of PFOA Solution and/or other waste containing PFOA, such that defendants proximately caused contaminants to enter, invade, intrude upon and injure the right of plaintiffs and the private water subclass to possess their property.”
To contact the reporter on this story: Gerald B. Silverman in Albany, N.Y., at email@example.com
To contact the editor responsible for this story: Larry Pearl at firstname.lastname@example.org
The class action lawsuit is available at http://src.bna.com/cQR.
All Bloomberg BNA treatises are available on standing order, which ensures you will always receive the most current edition of the book or supplement of the title you have ordered from Bloomberg BNA’s book division. As soon as a new supplement or edition is published (usually annually) for a title you’ve previously purchased and requested to be placed on standing order, we’ll ship it to you to review for 30 days without any obligation. During this period, you can either (a) honor the invoice and receive a 5% discount (in addition to any other discounts you may qualify for) off the then-current price of the update, plus shipping and handling or (b) return the book(s), in which case, your invoice will be cancelled upon receipt of the book(s). Call us for a prepaid UPS label for your return. It’s as simple and easy as that. Most importantly, standing orders mean you will never have to worry about the timeliness of the information you’re relying on. And, you may discontinue standing orders at any time by contacting us at 1.800.960.1220 or by sending an email to email@example.com.
Put me on standing order at a 5% discount off list price of all future updates, in addition to any other discounts I may quality for. (Returnable within 30 days.)
Notify me when updates are available (No standing order will be created).
This Bloomberg BNA report is available on standing order, which ensures you will all receive the latest edition. This report is updated annually and we will send you the latest edition once it has been published. By signing up for standing order you will never have to worry about the timeliness of the information you need. And, you may discontinue standing orders at any time by contacting us at 1.800.372.1033, option 5, or by sending us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Put me on standing order
Notify me when new releases are available (no standing order will be created)