Early Event Registration ends May 17
(WESTERVILLE, OH – April 22, 2019) – The National Ground Water Association (NGWA) today announced Rob Bilott – the attorney who brought the first PFAS environmental exposure case in 1999 that resulted in the discovery and public disclosure of PFOA in drinking water supplies for approximately 70,000 people in West Virginia and Ohio – will be the keynote speaker at the Association’s upcoming PFAS conference, June 19-20.
Mr. Bilott, a partner at Taft Stettinius & Hollister LLP, serves as co-lead counsel for the Plaintiff’s Steering Committee (PSC) in Multi-District Litigation (MDL) against DuPont involving PFOA personal injury claims. He also serves as Advisory Counsel to the Plaintiffs’ Executive Committee in the MDL involving PFAS in firefighting foam. He has been dubbed by The New York Times Magazine as “The Lawyer Who Became DuPont's Worst Nightmare” in an article published on Jan. 6, 2016.
NGWA’s PFAS, Management, Mitigation, and Remediation Conference will focus on approaches for the management, mitigation, and remediation of sites contaminated with per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS). Due to their human health and environmental effects, an increasing number of PFAS are becoming the focus of environmental protection agencies worldwide. The chemistry and environmental behavior of PFAS, as well as regulatory and toxicological evolution, create significant challenges for project planning, risk communication, and programmatic management. This conference is intended to provide an opportunity to share lessons learned and present state-of-the-practice in scientific and management approaches to addressing this high-profile issue.
Mr. Bilott will give an historic overview of PFAS-related litigation, and related scientific and regulatory developments at the state, national, and international levels titled “The Persistent and Accumulating Legal, Regulatory, and Scientific Problems of PFAS Contamination” during the event.
Rob Bilott PFAS Background
Appointed by the court as one of the class counsel for the plaintiffs, Bilott helped negotiate and obtain a class settlement in 2004 that secured benefits for the class valued in excess of $300 million. Benefits included water filtration systems for impacted private and public water supplies, funding of independent scientific health studies for PFOA, blood testing of 69,000 people, and eventual medical monitoring and confirmation of probable links to human disease that resolved issues of general causation for the class members’ personal injury claims.
As a result of that groundbreaking class settlement and probable link findings on PFOA, more than 3,500 class members were able to pursue individual personal injury claims against DuPont for diseases linked to their PFOA drinking water exposures, all of which were eventually consolidated into multidistrict litigation proceedings in federal court in Ohio. A global settlement of the then-pending claims was reached in 2017 for $670.7 million. Bilott’s litigation also spurred the first regulatory investigations, assessments, and enforcement actions involving PFAS, leading to the largest civil administrative penalty ever obtained by the Environmental Protection Agency at the time for the withholding of PFAS toxicity and risk information.
To date, Bilott has helped secure more than $1 billion in benefits for his clients exposed to PFOA in their drinking water. In 2017, he was a recipient of the international Right Livelihood Award, also known as the “Alternative Nobel Prize,” for his work on PFAS contamination issues.
NGWA PFAS Expertise
PFAS is a priority issue for NGWA. The Association published the first guidance document on the compounds, Groundwater and PFAS: State of Knowledge and Practice. The document is a 12-month effort by 36 volunteers spending 1100 hours. Divided into eight sections, it details how the potentially hazardous compounds interact in groundwater and soil.
NGWA also created a groundwater and PFAS resource center on its website that includes an FAQ, top 10 facts, and a PFAS checklist for homeowners, among other resources.
In addition to the PFAS Management, Mitigation, and Remediation Conference, NGWA is offering other PFAS-related educational events this year, including:
Lastly, a roundtable Q&A with industry experts on PFAS was published in the April issue of NGWA’s Water Well Journal, which focuses on water quality and water treatment.
The National Ground Water Association is a not-for-profit professional society and trade association for the global groundwater industry. Our members around the world include leading public and private sector groundwater scientists, engineers, water well system professionals, manufacturers, and suppliers of groundwater-related products and services. The Association’s vision is to be the leading groundwater association advocating for responsible development, management, and use of water.