Oct 05, 2021

Taconic Plastics to Pay $23.5 Million to Settle Petersburgh, New York, Water Pollution Case

This money will benefit hundreds of residents whose drinking water supplies were contaminated with perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) from a nearby plant.

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A Petersburgh, New York, plastics company, Taconic Plastics, will pay $23.5 million to settle a class-action lawsuit in a drinking water pollution case.

According to Times Union news, this money will benefit hundreds of residents whose drinking water supplies were contaminated with perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) from a nearby plant.

The proposed settlement was filed in state Supreme Court and will need to be approved by a judge, establishing three funds. 

The first would pay property owners on the town's small public water system, another will pay those with private wells that were contaminated, and a third will set up a 15-year medical monitoring program for individuals who had a certain level of PFOA detected in their blood.

The proposed settlement was agreed to by Tonoga Inc., which owns Taconic Plastics. The company manufactured products coated with perfluorinated chemicals, including PFOA. According to the lawsuit, the chemical contaminated water supplies in and around Petersburgh when it was released from the smokestacks of the company's plant off of Route 22, reported Times Union news.

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Residents also banded together to successfully push legislation to strengthen laws governing clean water, including monitoring smaller water systems under 10,000 people and notifying those individuals of contaminants, reported Times Union News.

The property settlement class fund would hold about $4.4 million, which would pay claimants roughly 10 to 12% of their property's total market value in 2015. A second "nuisance class" fund would set aside approximately $4.03 million that would be divided among property owners with private wells that had been polluted with PFOA. 

According to attorneys for the plaintiffs, estimates will work out to be about $10,000 for each nuisance class member, and there may be more than one person per household who qualifies, reported Times Union news.

A third fund, about $8.5 million, would set up a long-term medical monitoring program for those who were found to have elevated levels of PFOA in their bloodstreams of 1.86 parts per billion or more. The fund will also provide a $100 incentive payment for those who complete an informational survey and screening consultation within the first year that the settlement is finalized.

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