Dozens of Iowa water districts are getting a piece of a $105 million settlement from Syngenta.
A class action lawsuit was filed eight years ago against the company, the leading manufacturer of weed killer atrazine, in order to regain money spent on removing the chemical from water.
Seventy-three water districts in Iowa are getting money, with the lowest payment set at $5,000 and the highest at $350,000. More than $3.5 million total is being settled on the participating Iowa water districts.
Six water districts are receiving settlements of more than $250,000. They are: Rathbun Regional Water Association, Winterset Municipal Waterworks, Osceola Water Works, Fairfield Water Supply, Chariton Municipal Water Works, and Creston Water Supply.
Des Moines Water Works CEO Bill Stowe says it is set to receive just under $66,000 from the settlement.
Lawyers representing the water districts say the settlement by Syngenta illustrates the harm atrazine can cause.
“Science has been fighting an uphill battle against giant pesticide manufacturers like Syngenta who claim that a little weed killer in your drinking water won’t hurt you. Independent scientists now believe, however, that even trace amounts can harm you and your children for generations to come,” says Stephen M. Tillery, senior partner of Korein Tillery.
A statement from Syngenta says it is scientific fact that no one has or could be exposed to enough atrazine in water to affect their health. They claim the settlement was a business decision that allows farmers to continue to use the weed killer.
“This settlement ends the business uncertainty and expense of protracted litigation surrounding this critical product that has been the backbone of weed control for more than 50 years,” says a statement released by Syngenta.
Several water districts in other Midwest states are also getting money from the settlement.
The exact amount of the settlement for each water district is not being released because of attorney-client privilege.