State Recommends Widespread PFAS Testing In Connecticut Drinking Water | Connecticut Public Radio

State Recommends Widespread PFAS Testing In Connecticut Drinking Water

Oct 2, 2019

State health and environmental officials say Connecticut’s drinking water should undergo required testing for PFAS, a group of more than 4,000 synthetic chemicals. That’s according to a new report, which comes as the Department of Public Health issued a new PFAS-contamination alert following the crash of a vintage aircraft with 13 people onboard Wednesday morning.

State troopers responded to the scene, as did Bradley firefighters. The vintage World War II airplane was in the air for about five minutes before it crashed into a deicing facility at Bradley and burst into flames.

Firefighters used PFAS-containing foam to contain the fire.

Following that, the Connecticut Department of Public Health and the town of Windsor issued an alert Wednesday afternoon about the potential discharge of PFAS-containing firefighting foam to nearby areas around the airport. State officials say they hope to contain the contaminants to the immediate vicinity of the airport, but they said that some contamination could reach the Farmington River. 

The report said it should be required that all public drinking water supplies, and certain public and private wells, be tested for PFAS-contamination. 

Beginning in 2013, the EPA required public water systems serving more than 10,000 customers to test for six PFAS compounds, but this recommendation would extend testing to much smaller sources.. 

PFAS is a family of thousands of so-called “forever chemicals” that are found in non-stick cookware, waterproof clothing, and other household items. PFAS has been linked to cancer and immune system problems, and that are hard to remove from the environment. 

According to the draft report released Tuesday, “in Connecticut, 42 large public water systems were tested for the six PFAS, and none reported any PFAS detections above EPA’s reporting limit at that time.”

On June 8th, a malfunctioning fire suppression system at a private hangar at Bradley Airport sent thousands of gallons of PFAS-containing foam into the Farmington River. Since then, the state advised anglers to avoid eating any fish caught in the impacted area of the river in Windsor. 

Tuesday’s report also recommends possible legislative action including establishing a take-back program for PFAS-containing firefighting foam and requiring that all bottled water suppliers in Connecticut test their products for PFAS.

Connecticut’s recommendations come as a lawsuit in New Hampshire challenges that state’s new limits on PFAS chemicals in drinking water. 

As New Hampshire Public Radio reports, those limits are the strictest standards adopted by any state in the nation. 

Plaintiffs in the lawsuit argue those rules need to be reconsidered, “calling them an unconstitutional unfunded mandate.” 

Connecticut’s draft “PFAS action plan” is open for public comment through October 15.