Langley passes on class action lawsuit

The Langley City Council has decided to opt out of class action settlements regarding PFAS.

The Langley City Council has decided to opt out of class action settlements regarding “forever chemicals” known as per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, or PFAS, in drinking water.

During a meeting Nov. 6, Langley Public Works Director Randi Perry informed the council about the national lawsuit involving settlements from companies DuPont and 3M for all group A drinking water systems in the U.S. DuPont is proposing $1.9 billion, while 3M is proposing $10.5 to $12.5 billion in the settlement. The distributed payments would cover testing, sampling, clean up and treatment of water systems.

PFAS are human-made, synthetic chemicals found in a variety of consumer products since the 1950s. The chemicals do not break down in the environment, they bioaccumulate and can move through soils and contaminate drinking water sources.

The class action settlements are intended to resolve claims for PFAS contamination in public water systems, which are included in the settlement unless they formally opt out. The city has until Dec. 4 to opt out of the DuPont settlement and Dec. 11 to opt out of the 3M settlement.

Perry said city staff sampled Langley drinking water for PFAS, as required by the state Department of Health, in August. None was detected. She recommended that the city opt out of the settlements, since water systems that decide to stay in it must waive their rights for any further litigation against the companies.

“The city does not currently have detections of PFAS, but will continue to monitor per the Department of Health recommendation, as it is possible that contamination at some point could be present,” she said.

Councilmember Rhonda Salerno asked if the town of Coupeville, which has had documented PFAS contamination in water systems, is planning to opt out of the settlements. Perry responded that Coupeville’s public works director is recommending that the town opt out.

“That really is telling,” Salerno said.

The Langley City Council voted unanimously to opt out of the DuPont and 3M settlements.