Atascadero utility sues over cancer-linked chemicals found in wells

November 3, 2021


Atascadero Mutual Water Company has sued three large businesses in the aftermath of discovering chemicals linked to cancer in wells that supply drinking water to the North County city. [Tribune]

Sampling showed three wells managed by Atascadero Mutual Water Company that provide water used for drinking and landscaping became contaminated with the chemicals perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS). PFOA and PFOS do not break down and can accumulate over time, causing damage to humans and the environment, according to the federal Environmental Protection Agency.

The chemicals are associated with health problems, including cancer, elevated cholesterol and low birth weight, according to the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. Officials first detected PFOA and PFOS in Atascadero’s water supply in 2019, following the EPA requiring some municipalities, including the city of Atascadero, to test their water for similar chemicals.

Attorneys hired by Atascadero Mutual Water Company later identified 3M Co., DuPont and Chemours Co. as the businesses responsible for leaking PFOA and PFOS into the city’s water supply. On Oct. 15, Atascadero Mutual Water Company filed a product liability lawsuit in San Luis Obispo Superior Court to recover damages from the three companies.

Since detecting PFOA and PFOS in the city’s water supply, Atascadero Mutual Water Company has received permission from the State Water Board to mix the water from the contaminated wells with uncontaminated water from other sources in order to dilute the levels of PFOA and PFOS to safer levels.

This serves as a temporary mitigation measure. Atascadero Mutual Water Company’s long-term plan is to build a PFAS treatment facility.


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Jorge Estrada

It has come to my attention that the Salinas River, the discharge location for Atascadero, Templeton, the vastly growing and thirsty Paso Robles has been ramping up the nitrate levels too in this basin. It is ironic that the Paso Robles Basin is the battle grounds for the taxpayer/customer funded litigation where the business of local government is attempting to take more control of the water from surrounding property owners only to further city growth and basin contamination. Yes, at your expense, $millions spent and no money for roads, education and other benefits of government.


Couple questions for AMWC – is there a chemours, dupont or 3M facility in San Luis Obispo County that discharged the product into the City’s water system?

Did landfill practices in the area adequately protect the water supply from contaminated leachate?

Has the City or County actively enforced environmental regulations that would have prevented the discharge of GenX chemicals into the environment?

Now that it is out that senior management knows of and acknowledges this horrendous chemical in their water supply what is AMWC doing to eliminate it to protect the community from this cancer causing agent? Now, this is where AMWC infinite liability begins.

Another question as AMWC treats sewage that contains GenX chemicals, including PFAS what has AMWC done to eliminate this known toxin from its wastewater discharge?

There are 6 options to treat for GenX, PFAS related chemicals (5,002 derivations to date), so what has the management team done to date to eliminate it and protect the community?

What have City leaders done to eliminate the use of known cancer causing agents in the community, such as Round-Up?

The answer to all of these questions and more is nothing. The issues of GenX are well documented, dating back to the early 1970s and yet no one in government has done a thing? What do we pay these government well fare employees for. Did the City of San Luis Obispo have Bud Nance prosecuted for dumping toxic waste at the City yard contaminating the ground and of course ground water based upon articles in Calcoast? The answer is likely nothing.


For the safety of your family — Reverse Osmosis removes PFOA and PFOS. You can get an RO system at Home Depot for less than $200 and install it in an hour or so.


Oh Chicken Little. Read the tribune article. The sky is not falling.

kevin rise

And thank you CCN for reporting on this and other disheartening crimes in this county that are always SWEPT under the damn rug. WTF are we to do? Can’t go RoundUp the elite scumbags and drown them in their own poison, that’s illegal. But they can kill us and hide behind bankruptcy and a business license.

kevin rise

Flint Michigan Atascadero CA. Anyone who denies that crap like Roundup-ie agent orange, glysophates PF chemicals are safe should burn in hell. Oil and natural gas ARE AS DEADLY OR WORSE. Yet we build more, have a bunch of propoganda including John Peschongs Meridian Pacific lobbying firm for this crap, and no one cares because POISON IS NOW POLITICIZED. Vaccines are politicized, our history of genocide is now politicized, religion is politicized, sexual orientation and the list goes on and on and on. Let the the asteroid hit us sooner vs later dear lord. The innocent suffer, and no one is really worthy of living on this Eden we desecrate. This county is so fked it’s a joke, my kid is 6th gen to here, he’s screwed. Almost 150 years my family has been farming out of Adelaide, now a billionaires poison playground. Sickening.

kevin rise

Dear God.. this is Flint Michigan in Atascadero, ironic, I just had my water tested today in Paso due to a recent fowl taste after rain. I’m pretty scared having grown up in atascadero, I’m in my 30s.