The City of Rome is suing a host of Dalton-area carpet manufacturers over what it contends is an ongoing threat to its drinking water.
The lawsuit, filed Tuesday in Floyd County Superior Court, contends the companies — including 3M, Mohawk, Shaw Industries and others — knew the perfluorinated compounds used in their manufacturing were toxic. The chemicals, PFOA and PFOS, migrated downstream in the Oostanaula River, the main source of the city’s water.
A Thursday press release from City Attorney Andy Davis says Rome filed the suit “to ensure the long-term safety and viability of its drinking water system.”
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency issued a lifetime health advisory on the chemicals, noting they don’t break down over time and tend to accumulate in a body with repeated exposure. The city took emergency measures, the release states, to provide drinking water that meets the current standards for safe water.
“The City has utilized the Etowah River and Granular Activated Carbon Filters to build a temporary answer to the problem in the Oostanaula River, but the Etowah River cannot sustain the long-term water needs of the City,” it reads.
The lawsuit is seeking compensatory and punitive damages, along with an abatement of what it terms “the continuous nuisance and trespass.”
Rome city commissioners authorized the suit in a resolution passed on Nov. 4.
The suit contends that the synthetic chemicals, used to make stain-resistant materials, leach into the groundwater in Dalton. They end up in the Conasauga River, which ultimately flows into the Oostanaula.