Law firm asks Minot to join PFAS lawsuit

A man-made chemical commonly used at airports and Air Force bases has been found in Minot’s water supply, and a legal firm has invited the City of Minot to join its nationwide lawsuit.

The Minot City Council took input from the Napoli Shkolnik law firm, based in Manhattan, New York, regarding a lawsuit over per- and polyfluoroalkyl (PFAS) in water supplies. According to the law firm, relatively low amounts of PFAS under current federal standards were found in a couple of drinking water sources during multi-contaminant testing in Minot in 2018. In Minot’s wastewater treatment, the amount was significantly higher. There is currently no mandatory testing in North Dakota for PFAS.

The city council plans to discuss participation in a lawsuit in March. The lawsuit seeks financial compensation from numerous PFAS manufacturers for PFAS remediation.

Hank Naughton, attorney with Napoli Shkolnik, said Minot is not at a point where it is doing remediation, but access to a remediation fund might benefit the city in the future.

PFAS have been used in nonstick cookware, pesticides, shampoo and other items, although a primary use has been fire-fighting foam, he said. The top three industries using PFAS have been oil and gas, waste management and metal coating.

Naughton said his firm has evidence manufacturers marketed PFAS despite knowledge that the chemical causes various types of cancer, thyroid issues and fetal development problems.


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