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PFAS Water Lawsuits Expose Financial Impacts on State’s Poor Communities

Santa Clarita, a comfortable exurb of some 213,000 residents about 30 miles northwest of Los Angeles, is one of hundreds of California communities and districts grappling with the pricey problem of drinking water that’s been tainted by per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), chemicals that have been linked to cancer, liver damage, decreased fertility and increased risk of asthma and thyroid disease.

Last year the Santa Clarita Valley Water Agency (SCV Water) joined a multidistrict lawsuit filed in South Carolina that goes after chemical manufacturers and makers of PFAS-laden aqueous firefighting foam. Legal observers predict that this filing, along with a few recent separate suits within California, will release a flood of similar actions across the state. But as the sheer enormity and complexity of the PFAS problem become clearer, water quality experts, environmentalists and community advocates are growing increasingly concerned about the impacts on smaller, cash-strapped drinking water systems, especially those in low-income communities already struggling with poor quality drinking water. Read more…