PFAS in Municipality Water Supply

Recent findings have brought to light a concerning issue affecting many Americans: the presence of PFAS ('forever chemicals') in municipal water supplies. Approximately 45% of U.S. tap water is estimated to contain these chemicals, which are known for their persistence and potential health risks. PFAS are used in various products, from fast-food packaging to non-stick cookware, and their presence in water supplies poses a significant health concern.

What are PFAS?

PFAS, short for per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, are a large group of man-made chemicals used in a variety of industries around the world. They are known for their ability to resist heat, water, and oil, making them common in products like non-stick cookware, waterproof clothing, and fast-food containers.

PFAS are often referred to as "forever chemicals" because they break down very slowly, leading to persistent accumulation in the environment and human bodies. Due to their widespread use and durability, PFAS contamination has become a significant environmental and public health concern.

How Are Forever Chemicals (PFAS) Getting in Our Water Supply?

PFAS in municipality water supply

PFAS, often called "forever chemicals," enter our water supply through various routes:

Industrial Discharge

Factories that manufacture or use PFAS may discharge contaminated water into nearby water sources.

Consumer Products

Products like non-stick cookware, waterproof clothing, and food packaging that contain PFAS can leach these chemicals into the environment.

Firefighting Foams

PFAS are used in certain firefighting foams, especially at airports and military bases. These foams can seep into the ground and contaminate groundwater.


Waste containing PFAS can leach chemicals into groundwater.

Sewage and Wastewater Treatment

PFAS from household and industrial waste can enter sewage systems, and conventional water treatment processes often fail to remove them effectively.

These routes contribute to the widespread presence of PFAS in various water sources, including rivers, lakes, and groundwater, eventually leading to contamination of municipal water supplies.

Where Else Can PFAS Be Found?

PFAS can be found in a variety of products and places:

Consumer Products

Non-stick cookware, stain-resistant fabrics and carpets, water-repellent clothing, dental floss, and some cosmetics.

Food Packaging

Fast-food containers and wrappers, microwave popcorn bags, and pizza boxes.

Industrial Sites

Facilities that manufacture PFAS or use them in production processes.

Firefighting Foams

Used at airports and military bases for firefighting and training exercises.


Waste containing PFAS can leach into soil and groundwater.

Household Dust

PFAS can accumulate in dust from consumer products.

Food Chain

Certain fish and animals can accumulate PFAS, entering the food chain.


PFAS can be released into the air from manufacturing and industrial processes.

How PFAS in Municipality Water Supply Can Impact Your Health

PFAS (per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances) in municipal water supplies can have several health impacts:

Cancer Risk

Some studies suggest a link between PFAS exposure and increased risk of certain cancers, like kidney and testicular cancer.

Immune System Effects

PFAS may weaken the immune system, potentially reducing vaccine effectiveness and increasing susceptibility to infectious diseases.

Reproductive and Developmental Problems

Exposure to PFAS has been associated with adverse outcomes in pregnancy, including low birth weight, and may impact fetal development.

Hormone Disruption

PFAS can interfere with hormone regulation, affecting growth, metabolism, and reproduction.

Cholesterol Levels

Some PFAS have been linked to increased cholesterol levels, potentially leading to heart disease.

It's important to note that research is ongoing, and the full extent of health risks associated with PFAS exposure is still being studied.

How Do PFAS in Public Water Systems Impact Homeowners and Residents in a City?

PFAS contamination in a city's water supply can impact homeowners and residents in several ways:

Adverse Health Effects

Exposure to PFAS through drinking water can lead to various health issues, including increased risk of certain cancers, immune system effects, reproductive problems, hormonal disruptions, and elevated cholesterol levels.

Property Values

Contamination concerns can lower property values, as potential buyers may be wary of purchasing homes in affected areas.

Water Treatment Costs

Homeowners may need to invest in advanced water filtration systems to remove PFAS from their drinking water.

Psychological Stress

Concerns about health risks and property value can cause significant stress and anxiety for residents.

Litigation and Advocacy

Residents may join class-action lawsuits or advocate for stronger environmental regulations and cleanup efforts.

Legal Options for Municipalities Who Discover PFAS in Their Public Water Systems

Municipalities discovering PFAS in their public water systems have several legal options:

Litigation Against Polluters

If a specific source of PFAS contamination can be identified, municipalities can sue for damages, cleanup costs, and health monitoring.

Federal and State Regulation Compliance

Ensuring alignment with EPA and state guidelines for PFAS levels in water. Non-compliance may lead to legal challenges.

Seeking Government Funding

Municipalities can apply for state and federal funds available for environmental cleanup and water system upgrades.

Public Notification

They must inform residents about PFAS levels and potential health risks, as failure to disclose such information could lead to legal consequences.

Collaborative Clean-Up Efforts

Working with other affected entities for broader remediation efforts and cost-sharing.

Legal advice is crucial in navigating these options effectively.

What Does Litigation Against Polluters Look Like as a City?

Litigation against polluters as a city typically involves several key steps:

Identifying the Polluter

The city must identify and prove which entity is responsible for the PFAS contamination.

Gathering Evidence

Collecting data on PFAS levels in public drinking water systems, sources of contamination, and impacts on water quality.

Filing a Lawsuit

The city would file a legal claim, potentially including demands for cleanup costs, damages for public health impacts, and injunctive relief to stop further contamination.

Legal Proceedings

The case may involve negotiations, pre-trial motions, discovery (exchange of evidence), and possibly a trial.

Seeking Remedies

The city might seek financial compensation, orders for cleanup, and implementation of measures to prevent future contamination.

Throughout this process, the city would work closely with legal experts specializing in environmental law.

Enlisting a Personal Injury Lawyer to Champion Municipal Water Safety: Holding Polluters Accountable

A personal injury lawyer can assist cities in holding polluters accountable for contaminating drinking water by:

Legal Experience

Offering specialized knowledge in environmental law and personal injury to navigate complex legal challenges.

Investigation and Evidence Gathering

Helping to identify the polluters and collecting evidence to establish a direct link between the polluters' actions and the water contamination.

Filing Lawsuits

Assisting in the preparation and filing of legal suits against responsible parties.

Negotiating Settlements

Representing the city in negotiations for financial compensation for damages, cleanup costs, and public health initiatives.

Advocacy and Public Awareness

Raising public awareness about the issue and advocating for policy changes to prevent future contamination.

Can A City Sue a Company for Contaminating The Water Supply with PFAS?

Yes, a city can sue a company for contaminating the water supply with PFAS. Such legal actions typically involve claims that the company's activities led to the release of PFAS into the environment, resulting in contamination of the municipal water supply. In these PFAS lawsuits, cities often seek compensation for damages, including the cost of water treatment and remediation, as well as potential health impacts on residents. These cases can be complex and require substantial evidence linking the company's actions to the contamination.

Take Action Against Water Contamination: Your Cities Health Matters

If you're concerned about PFAS contamination in your municipality's water supply, it's time to take action. Contact Class Action 101 for expert legal advice and representation. Our experienced personal injury lawyers are dedicated to ensuring that responsible parties are held accountable and that your community's health and safety are protected. Don't wait – safeguard your rights and your health today.

PFAS in Municipality Water Supply: Frequently Asked Questions

What are PFAS?

PFAS (per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances) are a group of man-made chemicals used in various products for their resistance to heat, water, and oil.

How do PFAS enter municipal water supplies?

Common sources include industrial discharge, consumer products, firefighting foams, landfills, and sewage and wastewater treatment.

What health risks are associated with PFAS?

PFAS exposure has been linked to cancer, immune system effects, reproductive and developmental problems, hormone disruption, and increased cholesterol levels.

Can PFAS be removed from drinking water?

Yes, through advanced water filtration systems, but standard treatment processes may not be effective.

What can municipalities do about PFAS contamination?

Municipalities can pursue litigation against polluters, comply with federal and state regulations, seek government funding for cleanup, and inform the public about PFAS levels and risks.

How can residents protect themselves from PFAS?

Residents can use home water filtration systems, stay informed about local water quality reports, and participate in advocacy for stricter environmental regulations.

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