Water quality activists are weighing the benefits of a partial court settlement over water quality in the Decatur area this week.
U.S. District Judge Abdul Kallon issued the verdict authorizing a $5 million payment from chemical manufacturer Daikin America. It’s related to ongoing litigation over perfluorinated compounds, or PFCs, that were manufactured around Decatur for years before they were outlawed in the U.S.
The settlement is expected to be used to set up a temporary filtration system for drinking water from the Tennessee River.
David Whiteside is the executive director of Tennessee Riverkeeper. He’s involved in other cases dealing with PFCs, and while he applauds the recent settlement, he worries the filtration system won’t go far enough.
“If you don’t fix the source of the problem – if you don’t fix the seepages and then remediate the hotspots in the sediment and the contaminated settlement in the Wheeler Reservoir, then essentially, you’re just throwing money at the problem by just filtering it and trying to treat it.”
Whiteside says the PFC pollution has had a significant impact on those that live near the Wheeler Reservoir. People don’t trust the water quality and have begun buying bottled water, and fish caught in the area aren’t safe to eat due to contamination.