Decatur, Alabama Water Contamination Lawyer

Residents of Decatur, Alabama, may have been exposed to toxic “forever chemicals” in their water supply. These chemicals, known as per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), are widely used in hundreds of industrial and consumer goods. Scientific studies have linked these chemicals to cancer and other harmful health effects. The city has accused 3M and other companies of improperly dumping these pollutants. Are you a resident of Decatur or Morgan County? You may be eligible to file a Decatur, Alabama, water contamination lawsuit for your injuries. 

Our law firm is currently handling Decatur, Alabama, water contamination claims. Residents may have ingested chemicals linked to severe medical conditions. Don’t hesitate to speak with our experienced attorneys if you or a loved one suspect you are a victim of the toxic contaminants found in Decatur. 

What Are PFAS?

Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are a large group of human-made chemicals. More than 9,000 PFAS have been identified, but that number continues to grow. PFAS were discovered in the late 1930s, and many companies were manufacturing products with these chemicals by the 1950s. Dozens of commercial, military, and industrial products contain PFAS, including: 

  • Firefighting foam 
  • Cleaning products
  • Grease-resistant papers like fast food containers/wrappers, microwave popcorn bags, pizza boxes, and candy wrappers
  • Water-resistant fabrics
  • Nonstick cookware
  • Personal care products, like shampoo and dental floss 
  • Cosmetics 
  • Stain-resistant coatings for carpets, upholstery, and other fabrics

PFAS are notorious because they take a long time to break down in the environment. The chemicals can infest soil, waterways, fish, and other animals. It has become nearly impossible to escape PFAS in our society. People can suffer PFAS exposure by eating contaminated animals or fish, drinking water, using products with PFAS, and even breastfeeding. 

What Happened in Decatur, Alabama? 

A 3M facility in Decatur, Alabama, was a major manufacturer of PFAS for nearly four decades. Decatur was the manufacturing hub of 3M, with its plant opening in 1961 on the banks of the Tennessee River. 3M phased out the production of PFAS in 2002, but many believe it has left long-lasting damage. Years of PFAS-laden wastewater from the 3M plant may have leached into the Tennessee River and Wheeler Reservoir. 

In addition to the company releasing the chemicals directly into the water, there was another problem. 3M filtered its wastewater through Decatur Utilities, a city-owned water treatment facility. The treated water created a sludge byproduct with extremely high concentrations of PFAS. 3M, under the approval of Alabama’s Department of Environmental Management, used the PFAS substance as fertilizer on fields for over 20 years. 

The spreading of this chemical goo on over 5,000 acres of agricultural land and the dumping of chemicals into reservoirs reportedly compromised the food and water supply. 

Decatur and Morgan County residents may be eligible to file a Decatur, Alabama, water contamination claim. 3M and the state’s government officials allegedly concealed the amount of PFAS discovered in the food supply, water, and soil. 

The Lake Law Firm wants to support individuals in seeking justice against those responsible for this shameful neglect of the health of the Decatur community. A Decatur, Alabama, water contamination lawyer will fight for you in the legal process so you can focus on your health and recovery. 

Injuries Connected to PFAS Exposure

Not only do PFAS linger in the environment, but they also bioaccumulate over time. Testing revealed elevated levels of PFAS in the food, fish, and water of Decatur, Alabama. Individuals repeatedly exposed to PFAS for extended periods may experience: 

  • Various cancers, including kidney, prostate, liver, and testicular cancer 
  • Developmental delays 
  • Birth defects
  • Liver damage
  • Immune system disorders 

Since PFAS are resistant to degrading or diluting, these chemicals can remain in your body for an unknown period of time and continue to increase. 

Several agencies have recognized the dangers of these forever chemicals. The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) has classified PFAS as “possibly carcinogenic to humans.” Also, the EPA has advised that PFAS can interfere with the body’s hormones and immune system. Research into the outcomes of PFAS exposure is ongoing, but with each study, more evidence points to the destructive impact of these chemicals. 

If you lived in Decatur and developed a PFAS-related illness, a Decatur, Alabama, water contamination attorney from The Lake Law Firm is on standby to speak with you. Our team has extensive experience handling PFAS exposure claims, such as firefighting foam lawsuits and PFAS water contamination cases. We understand what it takes to navigate a successful chemical exposure injury claim. 

What Do We Know About Decatur, Alabama, Water Contamination Claims?

Decatur water contamination claims argue that 3M knew PFAS were dangerous but did not inform the public. According to uncovered internal documents, the company learned of the lethal toxicity of PFAS on lab animals in the late 1970s. By 1980, 3M confirmed PFAS in the water supply, contaminating fish people caught and ate in Decatur, Alabama. In 2001, an analysis showed that a single apple produced in Decatur contained 2,350 parts per trillion of PFOA, a type of PFAS. 

However, the company, the city, and government agencies remained silent and made no effort to clean up or remedy the disastrous conditions. Residents of Decatur and Morgan County were left in the dark about the toxins they were putting into their bodies. 

Have People Already Filed Decatur, Alabama, Water Contamination Claims? 

In 2002, residents across six counties in Northern Alabama filed a class action Decatur water contamination claim against 3M. This long-running lawsuit involved over 440,000 people for chemical contamination of their properties. Another lawsuit was filed by the Tennessee Riverkeepers, an environmental organization, in federal court in 2016. This case aimed to hold 3M and the City of Decatur responsible for the pollution of the Tennessee River and the soil, groundwater, surface water, sediment, air, and fish by discharging PFAS. 

Decatur, Alabama, Water Contamination Settlements and Verdicts

In February 2023, Decatur reached a $98 million settlement with 3M. After lengthy mediation, 3M agreed to pay the water contamination settlement to the city, county, and Decatur Utilities. The amount seeks to remedy PFAS contamination in various areas: 

  • $35 million for a new recreational facility and ballfields
  • $25 million for Decatur, Morgan County, and Decatur Utilities
  • $9.2 million for previous costs related to PFAS
  • $7 million for future sludge disposal for Decatur Utilities
  • $22.2 million to close sections of the Decatur Morgan County Regional Landfill 

However, this settlement is only the beginning of addressing the impact of PFAS on Decatur. There is a long road ahead for Decatur and its residents to undo the decades of disposal of these chemicals. While clean-up efforts will protect future generations from PFAS, 

A Lawyer Can Help You Recover Compensation for Your Injuries 

If you or a loved one have been diagnosed with an illness after exposure to the PFAS in Decatur, Alabama, you may be able to recover compensation for: 

  • Past and future medical expenses;
  • Past and future pain and suffering;
  • Loss of wages; and
  • Other economic losses related to your injury

The amount you receive in a Decatur, Alabama, water contamination claim depends on many factors. Your type of injury, the extent of your injury, treatment and recovery costs, and more can determine settlements and verdicts. Contact The Lake Law Firm today for a free case evaluation to learn how much your claim might be worth. 

How Our Law Firm Can Help You 

The Lake Law Firm was founded by Edward J. Lake, Esq., a personal injury lawyer for over 25 years. Our dedicated team of attorneys is committed to seeking justice on behalf of those who have suffered injury or death due to the negligence of others. Our experienced attorneys handle many different types of pharmaceutical drugs, medical devices, and other defective products. The lawyers in our firm have helped collect millions of dollars for their clients. A Decatur, Alabama, water contamination attorney will advocate for you and your rights. Please contact us for a free confidential case evaluation at (888) LAKE-LAW or submit an inquiry on this page.