County Commissioners Vote to Sue Over Firefighting Foams

BARNSTABLE – Barnstable County plans to take legal action against the manufacturers of firefighting foams believed to have led to the contamination of the Hyannis water supply.

The County Commission voted unanimously Wednesday to sign on with two leading environmental law firms, Kennedy and Madonna of New York and SL Environmental Group of San Francisco, in an attempt to recoup cleanup costs for the Barnstable County Fire and Rescue Training Academy.

Officials believe the foams used at the Academy containing PFOS, a chemical now receiving increased scrutiny by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, contaminated the Mary Dunn well fields in Hyannis. The wells were shut down earlier this year after the problem was discovered.

The law firms have agreed to represent Barnstable County on a contingency basis, meaning the county will only have to pay for their services if a suit is successful.

“I think we stand a very good chance,” Barnstable County Administrator Jack Yunits said of the lawsuit.

The Town of Barnstable has filed a separate suit against the manufacturers of the firefighting foams. Barnstable also filed a lawsuit against the county in July, seeking $2 million in damages connected to the contamination of the Mary Dunn wells.

The total cost of the cleanup is expected to be in the multi-millions of dollars.

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