A hearing to determine whether 7,000 southern El Paso County residents can act as a class to sue chemical manufacturers over tainted water in the Widefield aquifer has been delayed.
David McDivitt, whose firm is representing the plaintiffs, said it could be fall before the issue is decided. If the federal court allows a class-action suit, the plaintiffs could argue their case as a group, rather than suing the chemical companies one at a time.
“We are waiting to get a new date scheduled,” McDivitt said.
The suit, which targets chemical giant 3M and other manufacturers of a firefighting foam used by the Air Force, claims the firms knew or should have known that the foam contained harmful perfluorinated compounds. The chemical companies have denied the allegations.
The Air Force, which used the foam at Peterson Air Force Base, is not named in the suit, even though studies have shown the chemicals sprayed at the base wound up in the aquifer. The federal government is largely immune from lawsuits over the actions of the military.
The lawsuit has survived initial efforts to have it dismissed but remains years from resolution.
“You take the small victories where you can” McDivitt said.