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DuPont, Chemours beat back lawsuit over chemicals in N.Y. drinking water

NEW YORK (From news reports) -- A federal judge on Tuesday dismissed a lawsuit that asked chemical makers to pay to filter toxic substances at New York drinking-water plants.

U.S. District Judge Lewis Liman in Manhattan dismissed claims by water management company Suez Water New York Inc that E.I. Du Pont de Nemours and Co and three related companies should pay for upgrades to five water-treatment plants in southern New York due to the companies' alleged role in pollution of the state's water with perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS).

PFAS have been used for decades in manufacturing nonstick coatings such as Teflon. Scientists have associated some PFAS with illnesses such as kidney cancer.

Suez Water New York sued E.I. Du Pont de Nemours and Co, DuPont de Nemours Inc, Corteva Inc and The Chemours Co in 2020. It sought to hold the companies liable for the costs of installing and running the pricey filtering systems at the New York plants it operates.

The filters are needed to cut PFAS levels in water the plants treat to levels New York set last year, the lawsuit said. The plants service about 500,000 customers across Orange, Putnam, Rockland, Tioga, and Westchester counties, according to Suez.

The complaint claimed E.I. du Pont de Nemours and Chemours manufactured and sold the chemicals in New York, where they leached from landfills into state watersheds. Corteva, now the parent company of E.I. du Pont de Nemours, is a spin-off of DowDuPont, which is now dissolved. DowDuPont is now known as DuPont.

On Tuesday, Liman disagreed with Suez that he could exercise his jurisdiction over Corteva and DuPont as successors of the manufacturers of PFAS. He also dismissed the claims against E.I. du Pont de Nemours and Chemours for lack of specificity and other reasons.

Suez can refile an amended complaint against E.I. du Pont de Nemours and Chemours, Liman ruled. Suez spokesperson Richard Henning said the company plans to do so.

Corteva said it is pleased with the ruling. Chemours and DuPont did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

The case is Suez Water New York Inc v. E.I. DuPont De Nemours and Co, U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, No. 1:20-cv-10731.

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