Riverhead settles water contamination suit with DuPont, 3M

The Riverhead Town Board voted earlier this month to settle a three-year-old lawsuit it filed against DuPont and 3M. The town will get $1 million in the settlement, board members said. 

The Town Board filed the 2021 lawsuit in federal court against DuPont, 3M and Chemours, a former DuPont subsidiary, claiming the three companies manufactured products containing polyfluoralkyl substances, commonly called PFAS, that were found in town wells, officials said at the time. Those chemicals showed up in Plant 5 of the town water district and are not easily biodegradable, officials said. The suit sought to recover the cost of protecting the public and restoring the contaminated water supply.

Councilman Ken Rothwell voted against the settlement offer. 

“I understand that time is of the essence, but $1 million, prior to the attorneys taking their fees, it’s just a drop in the ocean of where we need to go and what we need to repair,” he said. 

“I’m very comfortable voting yes for this,” Supervisor Tim Hubbard said. “We all agree that this is a drop in the bucket. But the fact is, there may be zero dollars available if we go the other way, and keep fighting. These companies might not be in business by then.”