City of Thornton News Release Logo For Immediate Release:   1/30/2023
Contact: Communications Director
Todd Barnes, 303-538-7279

City of Thornton Files Lawsuit Against Chemical Manufacturers Alleging Products Contaminated Portions of Water Supply and Seeks Clean Up Costs

THORNTON, CO… The city of Thornton has filed suit in federal court against multiple chemical companies responsible for the manufacturing of products that contained per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances (“PFAS”), also known as “forever chemicals.” The city of Thornton alleges in the lawsuit that firefighting foam made with these companies’ chemical products have unlawfully contaminated a portion of the city’s surface and ground water supply to various degrees in excess of recent Environmental Protection Agency’s Health Advisory levels. The city has elected to take the most contaminated ground water source out of service until remediation or treatment can take place. Thornton’s lawsuit joins hundreds of other cases in federal multi-district litigation that have been filed by municipalities, water utilities, airports, residents and firefighters nationwide. 

PFAS includes the chemicals PFOS and PFOA, which are fluorosurfactants that repel oil, grease, and water. Thornton’s lawsuit alleges that: “PFOS and PFOA are mobile, persist indefinitely in the environment, bioaccumulate in individual organisms and humans, and biomagnify up the food chain. PFOS and PFOA are also associated with multiple and significant adverse health effects in humans, including but not limited to kidney cancer, testicular cancer, high cholesterol, thyroid disease, ulcerative colitis, and pregnancy-induced hypertension.” Thornton’s lawsuit, as well as other municipal water utilities suing these companies, is about recovering the costs associated with the necessary treatment processes to remove PFOA and PFOS from the drinking water supply and ensure those costs won't be passed on to taxpayers or water customers. 

“The companies the city is suing manufactured chemicals they knew, or should have known, were dangerous to the environment and public health and sold them anyway. This lawsuit seeks company profits, not taxpayers and water customers, to pay for the cleanup of the contamination of our water and environment” said Thornton Deputy City Attorney Adam Stephens.

The city of Thornton is recognized as a leading community in providing transparency and proactive communication regarding PFOS/PFOA issues to its residents and businesses. The city of Thornton has been testing for these chemicals for years. With the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s new Maximum Contaminate Level determination due to come out in the near future, Thornton is again a leader in efforts to mitigate these chemicals in its water supply.