Westfield, Mass., Files Suit Against Three Companies After Well Contamination

Feb 18, 2018

The city of Westfield, Massachusetts, has filed a lawsuit against three companies after chemical contaminants were found in two of its wells.

In 2016, levels of two chemicals identified by the EPA as hazardous exceeded federal safety standards in the two wells. They'd already been shut down.

According to the suit, the chemicals came from firefighting foam used at the Barnes Air National Guard Base.

The suit alleges the three manufacturers of the foam knew of the health risks. Westfield wants them to pay the city for the costs to address the problem.

Susan Phillips is Westfield's city solicitor.

"We've had to spend significant time and money developing a fix," she said. "The fix is carbon filtration, so we're estimating $7 million to $10 million ultimately to create that fix, so we can put our wells back on line."

Phillips said the city could also pursue other responsible parties, possibly including the federal government.

One company named in the lawsuit, 3M, said it acted responsibly and would vigorously defend itself.

The two other companies declined comment.