The nonprofit organization representing Connecticut’s 169 municipalities says more cooperation is needed to manage environmental fallout from a family of contaminants that have remained in products for decades.
One of those products is firefighting foam. Foam containing per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) works better than just water at smothering hot-burning fires. But recent science has linked PFAS to a variety of bad health effects in people, including liver and developmental problems.
Kevin Maloney with the Connecticut Conference of Municipalities said that as PFAS remediation becomes more of a health and environmental issue, towns can’t be left on the hook.
“Towns are going to be faced with devoting significant amounts of funds if there’s no partnership coming forth from the state and the responsible businesses,” Maloney said. “That could result in local tax hikes [and] cutbacks in other services to pay for the remediation.”
Gov. Ned Lamont has made PFAS a focus in his budget proposal, which sets aside nearly $1 million for testing and mitigation programs and calls for an additional $2 million in bonding to set up a municipal takeback program for firefighting foam.
Last year, two accidents at Bradley International Airport brought PFAS to the attention of lawmakers. Those accidents included a discharge of PFAS-filled firefighting foam at a private aircraft hangar, which sent tens of thousands of gallons of PFAS-filled water into drains and eventually into the Farmington River.
Just a few months later, PFAS-filled firefighting foam was used when a B-17 vintage aircraft crashed at the airport, killing seven people.
Both Lamont’s budget and bonding proposals remain subject to legislative approval.