Judge approves $10B deal on ‘forever chemicals’ contamination

By Ellie Borst, Miranda Willson | 04/01/2024 04:04 PM EDT

3M could start doling out settlement funds soon, giving welcomed assistance to water utilities as they gear up for EPA’s rule on PFAS in drinking water.

The logo for 3M on a screen at the New York Stock Exchange.

The logo for 3M on a screen at the New York Stock Exchange on Oct. 24, 2017. Richard Drew/AP

A federal district judge approved “forever chemical” manufacturer 3M’s $10.3 billion settlement with some of the nation’s largest public drinking water systems over PFAS contamination.

The order, published Friday out of the U.S. District Court for the District of South Carolina, means eligible drinking water utilities could see settlement funds as early as this summer, offering welcomed assistance as utilities prepare to get in compliance with imminent EPA drinking water standards.

Last June, 3M announced it struck the landmark deal, which means the chemical company is on the hook for payments totaling between $10.3 billion and $12.5 billion over the next 13 years.


Judge Richard Gergel offered preliminary approval of the settlement in August, which gave water systems limited time to opt out. Only 897 of the roughly 12,000 eligible systems — about 7.5 percent — opted out of the settlement, wrote Gergel, an Obama appointee.