Water utilities reach settlement over PFAS-laden foam

By Miranda Willson | 05/21/2024 04:30 PM EDT

Funds from the settlement will help utilities remove “forever chemicals” and comply with new regulations.

Exterior view of the BASF chemical complex in Ludwigshafen, Germany, Jan. 15, 2024.

An exterior view of the BASF chemical complex in Ludwigshafen, Germany, on Jan. 15. Michael Probst/AP

Chemical giant BASF has agreed to pay $316.5 million to water providers nationwide that are facing contamination from “forever chemicals.”

The settlement is the latest concerning per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, or PFAS, in drinking water. The water sector is grappling with staggering cleanup costs associated with the chemicals that have been used in nonstick pans, stain-resistant carpets, and other household and industrial products.

In this case, water providers had claimed that PFAS used in a military-grade firefighting foam made by BASF contaminated groundwater near military bases, airports and other sites. Known as aqueous film-forming foam, the product has been used to extinguish liquid fuel fires.


Funds from the settlement will be allocated based among participating public water systems as they seek to comply with new PFAS regulations, according to attorneys representing the plaintiffs. Earlier this year, EPA finalized the first-ever nationwide drinking water standard for six types of PFAS, which have been linked to a litany of health problems and are extremely slow to break down.