PARCHMENT, Mich. — A $11.9 million settlement was reached in a lawsuit filed over high levels of PFAS contamination in Parchment drinking water.
Jesika Sage, Parchment resident, said her family of nine, like many others in Parchment, have been dealing with contaminated waters for years.
“I think it’s a step in the right direction but how do you put a price tag on a community that’s been poisoned for years on end for profit," Sage said.
To this day, Sage said her family used bottled water.
“We don’t trust what comes out of the tap anymore," she said.
In July 2018, tests revealed levels of perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances, known as PFAS, in Parchment drinking water were 20 times higher than what the Environmental Protection Agency considers safe.
A few months later, a lawsuit was filed on the behalf of local residents, that alleged the PFAS contamination came from a nearby former paper mill.
In a statement, a Georgia-Pacific spokesperson said in part “Through the agreement, 3M and Georgia-Pacific will contribute a total of $11.9 million to resolve the plaintiffs’ claims on behalf of the proposed class. The parties worked collaboratively to reach this mutually acceptable agreement without resorting to further lengthy and expensive litigation. The parties worked collaboratively to reach this mutually acceptable agreement without resorting to further lengthy and expensive litigation.”
The settlement stated the $11.9 million would be put aside in a fund and payed out to residents who filed a claim.
It was unclear how much money residents could get or when they could see any money.
Parchment neighbors said the money from the settlement would go toward property damages and medical monitoring because many said they were concerned about the lasting health impacts drinking the contaminated water could have on their families.
“I worry about their health long-term and even some of the health issues that we have faced as adults in our young 20s and 30s because we grew up in this community," Sage said.
Michigan said it was working with environmental agencies to understand how PFAS could impact people’s health.
Some studies have shown people with certain PFAS levels might have a weakened immune system, an increased chance of thyroid disease and kidney and testicular cancer.
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