Eldred, Hardin Have High PFAS Readings from IL EPA Study, IL Attorney General Files Suit Against 3M for PFAS Contamination of Mississippi River & Ground Water

By Benjamin Cox on March 21, 2022 at 8:55am

The Eldred and Hardin communities may want to pay close attention to a recent lawsuit filed by the Illinois Attorney General’s Office.

Attorney General Kwame Raoul filed a lawsuit against the company 3M alleging that it improperly handled PFAS, also known as “forever chemicals” for their persistence in the environment – resulted in ongoing contamination at and around its facility in Cordova.

The lawsuit is a result of the Illinois EPA’s ongoing test of the state’s drinking water for the chemicls. Illinois Environmental Protection Agency Director John J. Kim announced Wednesday the completion of statewide sampling to investigate the prevalence and occurrence of PFAS in finished drinking water at all community water systems around the state. Illinois EPA began the investigation in the fall of 2020 and completed sampling earlier this year.

Data gathered as part of this investigation will aid in the development of future Maximum Contaminant Level drinking water quality standards.

The Illinois EPA says PFAS detections were found to be similar to other Midwest states. According to data collection, The Eldred Treatment Plant’s sample on January 4th was greater than or equal to the guidance level for EPA standards on the forever chemicals. The same could be said for the Hardin Treatment Plant’s sample on February 10th. The Eldred sample showed 3 of the 7 chemicals that the Illinois EPA was testing for. The Hardin sample showed 2.

Raoul’s lawsuit says that 3M’s Cordova operations specifically leaked and spilled PFAS and PFAS waste contaminating the Mississippi River.

Raoul’s lawsuit seeks to require 3M to address PFAS contamination and protect public health and the environment. The lawsuit also seeks civil penalties of up to $50,000 for each violation of the Illinois Environmental Protection Act and associated regulations, and additional civil penalties of $10,000 for each day the violations continue. In addition, the lawsuit seeks damages arising from PFAS contamination and injury of natural resources.