PFAS Water Litigation – The Proper Course
John R Coon, JD, PhD
T. Roe Frazer, Frazer PLC
The Kuykendall Group, LLC
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The Law Offices of John R Coon, JD, PhD and Frazer Law, LLC are proud to announce that Dr. John Coon and T. Roe Frazer, II, have been invited to speak at the 2019 Annual Water Resources Conference of the American Water Resources Association. The AWRA is the preeminent multidisciplinary association for information exchange, professional development, and education about water resources and related issues. Its annual conference has earned a reputation as one of the most diverse and inclusive conferences in water resources management.
The presentation of Dr. Coon and Attorney Frazer, entitled Who’s on First? PFAS Litigation and Public/Private Water and Wastewater Utilities, is designed to inform conference attendees about the current status and future possibilities for litigation involving PFAS contamination and its impacts on public and private water suppliers and wastewater treatment operators.
Their presentation will highlight the trend that finds the number of American communities impacted by contamination from highly toxic per- and polyfluorinated compounds (PFAS) continuing to grow at an alarming rate. While the extent of PFAS contamination is not fully known, investigations thus far, such as sampling and monitoring required under EPA’s Unregulated Contaminant Monitoring Rule (UCMR3), indicate the problem is widespread. Recent data gathered by the Environmental Working Group (EWG) indicate that at least 610 locations in 43 states are known to be affected and drinking water systems serving some 19 million people have been impacted. EWG estimates derived from unpublished data suggest that 1,500 drinking water systems impacting some 110 million Americans may be contaminated by PFAS constituents. Private and public treatment works responsible for supplying potable drinking water consistent with federal and state requirements are increasingly confronted with the expense of treating PFAS-containing water in supply wells and surface waters. Emerging issues related to the spreading of PFAS-containing sludge on farmland and public lands are of increasing significance to the wastewater treatment companies.
One predictable result of the scale of PFAS contamination is litigation. Nationwide, pending cases reflect a confusing array of multi-district litigation, class actions, and individual claims brought in state and federal courts representing a variety of perspectives and interests as litigants position themselves to recover for harms and economic injury caused by the introduction of fluoroalkyl substances into the environment. Frazer and Coon will attempt to survey the landscape of national pending and contemplated litigation from a variety of perspectives. One perspective with which Roe Frazer is familiar is that of a trial attorney representing numerous private and publically traded water and wastewater utilities throughout the United States and who has been named to the Executive Committee of the national multi-district litigation (“MDL”) In Re: Aqueous Film-Forming Foams Products Liability Litigation. The two will also examine related issues from the perspective of an attorney/consultant familiar with the issues confronting farmers and utilities as the result of the spreading of toxic PFAS-containing biosolids. Finally, they will discuss the legal theories underpinning the interests and positions of parties to pending litigation, including PFAS manufacturers, water and sewer treatment utilities, consumers, and landowners.