Charleston Co. Aviation Authority files suit against Dupont alleging groundwater contamination

Published: Jan. 13, 2022 at 2:21 PM EST|Updated: Jan. 13, 2022 at 5:30 PM EST
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CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - Officials with the Charleston County Aviation Authority are filing a lawsuit against Dupont involving a fire suppressant foam that they claim has led to the contamination of groundwater at their facilities.

Officials with the CCAA, which own three state airports including Charleston International Airport, announced on Thursday that they filed suit against E.I. DuPont De Nemours and Company, the 3M Company and others for contamination of groundwater due to the manufacturing and use of Aqueous Film Forming Foam (AFFF) which they say contains the harmful chemicals perfluorooctanoic acid and perfluorooctane sulfonic acid.

According to the CCAA, extended exposure to these chemicals has been linked to numerous health and safety complications, including cancer.

The lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court of South Carolina.

“AFFF has historically been used during fire protection, training, and response activities against flammable liquid fires,” CCAA officials said. “3M Company and other defendants have manufactured, marketed, or sold AFFF containing the “forever chemicals” PFOA and PFOS since the 1960s.”

According to the aviation authority, once released into the environment, PFOA and PFOS are non-biodegradable and seep into the ground, contaminating the surface water, soil, sediment, and groundwater.

CCAA officials said the storage and use of AFFF on their properties has caused contamination, and they say they did not know of the ongoing contamination nor the toxic nature of these chemicals during the time of its use.

“The use of AFFF has led to PFOS and PFOA being detected in the groundwater of our properties,” said Elliott Summey, Executive Director and CEO of Charleston County Aviation Authority. “The companies creating this harmful product must be held accountable for knowingly putting a dangerous product into our water.”

A press release by the aviation authority states that the lawsuit is seeking to collect damages for 3M Company and others’ defective design of PFOA, PFOS, and AFFF containing these chemicals, their failure to warn the public of the dangers of their products, and the nuisance created by the chemicals contaminating the properties where it was used.

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