PFAS Contamination Cost Recovery

A Comprehensive Guide for Water Utilities

PFAS Contamination and Cost Recovery Guide

Covering the Cost of PFAS Contamination

PFAS contamination is causing a ripple effect throughout water systems in the US. Compliance with existing and upcoming regulations, as well as the resulting costs to treat contaminated water, are major challenges faced by utilities and municipalities. In early 2023, the EPA proposed a national maximum contaminant level (MCL) for PFOA and PFOS at 4 parts per trillion (ppt) while also proposing to regulate four other PFAS chemicals, including PFNA, PFHxS, PFBS, and GenX, as a mixture. These regulations have now been enacted as of April 2024, meaning utilities across the United States have more urgency to prepare for cost recovery action.

Due to its widespread use over the past decades and the fact that PFAS does not biodegrade in the environment, water systems that test for this contaminant typically tend to find it in their water. And with the introduction of national MCLs for PFAS substances, more and more systems will need to take action, which can result in significant treatment costs. In fact, a recent study commissioned by AWWA estimates that water treatment to maintain contamination under the proposed levels will be upward of $3.8 billion annually. Using litigation to cover the cost of PFAS contamination cleanup can be a viable approach.

Many water utilities simply cannot cover their portion of that annual cost, and also would rather not pass such a burden onto their ratepayers. And rightly so, considering they are not at fault for the contamination. An increasingly popular solution to this is to hold PFAS manufacturers responsible for the cleanup costs of contaminated drinking water, and to do so through litigation. That said, the idea of filing a lawsuit can be overwhelming, particularly for those without previous experience in water contamination litigation. If this applies to you, know that you are not alone.

When considering the option of filing a lawsuit, it’s important to understand what actually happens. To help provide clarity, we’ve compiled a list of the most common questions and concerns we hear, along with answers and information about the litigation process.

Access the Full Guide — Fill out the form to learn more about how:

Action can positively affect perception

The public is more aware of the dangers of PFAS than ever. As a result, ratepayers appreciate the practical approach of their water suppliers taking action to protect public resources as well as ensuring costs are not being passed to them.

Regulatory changes have taken effect

As of April 2024, the EPA has made official its new federal MCL (maximum contaminant level), one that, when it comes to PFAS detection, has the potential to affect many of our water systems and their imminent responsibilities.

Preparation is more important than ever

Acting now to cover costs associated with remediation efforts is to your benefit. There are factors at play that impose a timeline on the viability of litigation, which you may risk missing if you delay taking action.