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AltmanNewman fights for communities and drinking water suppliers grappling with PFAS, the toxic “forever chemicals” (2022)

Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are a class of thousands of manmade chemicals used to make water-, stain- and grease-repellant coatings used in a wide range of consumer  products  and industrial applications. PFAS are used in cookware, stain- and water-repellant clothing and carpets, food packaging, cleaning products, cosmetics, personal care products, and more.

Most people have been exposed to PFAS, and 99 percent of Americans have PFAS in their blood. PFAS are commonly referred to as “forever chemicals” because they don’t break down, accumulate in the human body, and remain in the environment – and people – for decades. PFAS have been linked to several serious health conditions in humans, including cancer, thyroid disease, high cholesterol, low infant birth weights, and effects on the immune system.

AltmanNewman recently filed comments on behalf of the Little Hocking Water Association urging EPA to ensure that those responsible for the PFAS pollution that has contaminated drinking water systems and communities across the country are held liable for cleanup costs. Read the comments and learn more about Little Hocking’s 20-year fight to protect its community’s water supply here.

AltmanNewman’s work resulted in long-term treatment of a heavily contaminated water supply and the first judicial finding of liability in the United States for PFAS contamination. We continue to monitor the emerging science around PFAS and are well-positioned to assist communities, environmental groups, and drinking water suppliers facing PFAS contamination.

AltmanNewman argues for reinstatement of vital tool for Ohioans exposed to air pollution (2022)

AltmanNewman President Dave Altman urged the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals to reject the US EPA’s removal of an essential tool for Ohio citizens who live near air pollution sources in a Sixth Circuit oral argument on October 19, 2022. AltmanNewman represents Donna Ballinger, a fenceline neighbor of the Cleveland Cliffs (formerly AK Steel) Middletown plant and Sierra Club leader Marilyn Wall. Joined by Sierra Club and the Ohio Environmental Council, Ballinger and Wall petitioned the Sixth Circuit to review EPA’s November 2020 removal of the state’s Air Nuisance Rule from Ohio’s Clean Air Act state implementation plan (SIP). The rule, which has been in place since 1974, has been used by citizens, local governments and the state to bring claims in federal court to enforce the law and reduce air pollution harms to health and property.

EPA removed the nuisance rule in 2020 using an obscure “error correction” mechanism after months of intense lobbying by industry. And although the state had argued in the months leading up to the oral argument that it had never relied on the rule to ensure compliance, state attorneys filed a notice hours before the oral argument confirming that Ohio had in fact used the nuisance rule to reduce pollution that endangered human health.

Read more about the importance of the Air Nuisance Rule to Ohio citizens and Donna Ballinger’s fight to stop pollution from the Cleveland Cliffs plant here:

AltmanNewman urges Sixth Circuit to allow enforceable plan to end Franklin County sewage pollution (2022)

In oral argument before the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals on October 26, 2022, AltmanNewman Vice President Justin Newman explained how a consent order between the Ohio EPA and Franklin County will still allow at least 1,700 failing home sewage treatment systems to pollute local waterways with tens of millions of gallows of raw sewage illegally. Newman urged the panel to allow a citizen suit to enforce the Clean Water Act to move forward. He urged that the citizen suit  would force compliance by going beyond mere studies and plans and actually require the elimination of the illegally discharging, unpermitted home sewage treatment systems and unpermitted sewage discharges through the county’s outfalls.

AltmanNewman recovers damages for Northside homeowners inundated by sewer project collapse (2021)

The AltmanNewman team recovered nearly $1.0 million in damages from the Metropolitan Sewer District of Greater Cincinnati (MSD) needed to restore homes and replace personal property on behalf of families in Cincinnati’s Northside neighborhood. The families’ homes and lives were devastated after an MSD sewer project collapsed and failed, leading to sewer backups and the inundation of the Northside neighborhood with mucky liquids from MSD’s system. The AltmanNewman effort included both informal resolution and state and federal claims filed in federal court.