Advance Notice: Briefs

Nessel files suit against paper company for PFAS contamination in St. Clair County

By: - December 20, 2022 11:46 am

Dana Nessel | Ken Coleman

Updated, 1:06 p.m., 12/22/22

Attorney General Dana Nessel announced a lawsuit Tuesday addressing the release of per-and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) by a paper manufacturer in St. Clair County. 

The lawsuit seeks costs and damages from Domtar Industries Inc., a paper manufacturing company that formerly operated in Port Huron, and runs several mills in other states and Canada. The suit also seeks a court ruling on Domtar’s liability and an order to investigate and remediate the contamination from Domtar’s operations. 

According to the complaint, Domtar began using PFAS chemicals at its Port Huron mill, which included the use of PFAS for grease resistance in specialty papers. While paper sludges from the company contained high levels of PFAS, they were represented as inert and free of hazardous substances.

From approximately 1998 to 2020, Domtar disposed of the PFAS-contaminated sludges at Techni-Comp, a composting business in Port Huron, which lead to contamination of the property, surrounding lands, and the ground and surface waters, as well as other natural resources. The levels of PFAS detected in the groundwater and surface water exceed state standards.

“Michigan residents should not be left holding the bag for the impacts of corporate PFAS contamination, nor for the costs of cleaning it up,” Nessel said in a statement.

“My efforts to hold companies accountable for contaminating our communities will continue where corporations are not taking adequate remediation efforts or responsibility for their actions.”

This suit is the newest of multiple lawsuits filed against manufacturers of PFAS, PFAS-containing firefighting foam, and against companies who contaminated manufacturing sites within the state. 

Correction: This story has been updated with the company’s correct location after incorrect information was supplied from the AG’s office.

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Kyle Davidson
Kyle Davidson

Kyle Davidson was a reporting intern for the Michigan Advance. A recent MSU graduate, Kyle studied journalism and political science. He has reported on community events, breaking news, state policy, and the environment for outlets including the Lansing State Journal, the Detroit Free Press and Capital News Service.