Saint-Gobain Performance Plastics Corporation will pay $34.15 million to affected residents in Bennington, Vermont, as the result a class-action lawsuit over PFOA contamination in the town.
The settlement will pay property owners who were impacted by the contamination, and it will also require Saint-Gobain to pay up to $6 million for a 15-year medical monitoring program.
The settlement comes after years of legal proceedings regarding a former Saint-Gobain owned plant in North Bennington, which closed in 2002. PFOAs, which is perfluorooctanoic acid, were reported to be in drinking water, groundwater and in the soil.
Vermont state agencies confirmed there was PFOAs in wells in 2016. The lawsuit was filed in May of that year.
The VTDigger reported that the contamination impacted 8,000 people and 2,400 properties in the area.
Saint-Gobain told the VTDigger that it has made a commitment to help mitigate the issue and “We believe these settlements and the extensive remediation work already completed are indicative of that commitment.”
The factory made fiberglass fabrics that were coated in Teflon that was produced using PFOAs.
Saint-Gobain previously agreed to pay more than $50 million to extend Bennington and North Bennington waterlines to residents with wells that were contaminated with PFOAs, the Bennington Banner reported.
The EPA has been making cleaning up PFAS, which include PFOAs, a priority. The agency released in October a three-year strategic roadmap regarding the issue.
Under the Saint-Gobain settlement the property compensation will be supervised by court-appointed officials and amounts for individual property owners will be determined by the value of the property before the contamination and if residents drank from contaminated wells. The medical program will provide free testing and monitoring for certain medical conditions.
“This settlement provides significant compensation and medical monitoring to the Bennington community affected by the PFOA contamination, and we strongly support it,” says James Sullivan, spokesman for the named plaintiffs and class representatives in the case. “We especially want to initiate the medical monitoring program as soon as possible. “
The US District Court for Vermont still needs to approve the settlement.
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