Connecticut’s top environmental official said Wednesday she supports a proposal to prohibit the use of firefighting foam containing a family of toxic chemicals of the type that washed into the Farmington River in 2019.
Two accidents at Bradley International Airport, including fire suppression around a plane crash that killed seven people, sent tens of thousands of gallons of PFAS (per-and polyfluorinated substances) into the river.
These so-called “forever chemicals” can persist in the environment and cause health problems.
Katie Dykes, commissioner of the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, said her agency supports a bill to phase out most uses of firefighting foams containing PFAS by 2023.
The bill also would establish a takeback program for unused foams. Republican state Sen. Craig Miner said that will be crucial for any future legislative support.
“If we don’t have a program to take it back, I can’t imagine this passing the legislature,” Miner said. “The real issue is what do we do with what we have. … If we don’t give people an alternative, a can is gonna deteriorate in the basement of a firehouse and it’s going to be a problem.”
The bill was raised in a public hearing before the environment committee Wednesday. It now goes before state officials for review and possible advancement in the state legislature.