Courtroom gavel
A courtroom gavel. Photo via Wikimedia Commons

A settlement reached over water contamination claims stemming from Monsanto Company’s use of toxic chemicals known as PCBs will send $550 million to several jurisdictions, including the cities of San Diego and Chula Vista, it was announced Wednesday.

The proposed settlement still requires approval from District Court Judge Fernando M. Olguin before class members can receive funds, which both cities said will go toward the protection of local waterways, and the mitigation and monitoring of PCBs.

Monsanto manufactured PCBs — toxic industrial compounds — from the 1930s until 1977. The chemicals were banned in the United States in 1979.

Bayer, which acquired Monsanto in 2018, announced Wednesday it would pay up to $10.9 billion to resolve current and potential future litigation related to Monsanto weedkiller Roundup over cancer claims.

The announcement included agreements to resolve cases related to PCB water contamination, which Bayer said establishes a class “that includes all local governments with EPA permits involving water discharges impaired by PCBs.”

San Diego City Attorney Mara W. Elliott said, “Monsanto has profited handsomely for decades and will finally be held responsible for the damage it knowingly caused by manufacturing a product that put the public’s health at risk. The city can use the settlement funds to begin removing PCBs from San Diego’s beautiful bays and waterways so that our precious water resources are preserved for future generations.”

Other jurisdictions to receive funds as part of the resolution include the cities of Berkeley, Oakland, San Jose, Long Beach, Spokane, Tacoma, Portland and Baltimore, as well as the counties of Los Angeles and Baltimore and the Port of Portland.

–City News Service