PFAS Update XXV: News Around North America on PFAS and Emerging Contaminants

PFAS Update XXV:
Science, Legal, Community News and More on PFAS and Emerging Contaminants

As SGS joins the rest of the globe in navigating the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and providing services related to both cleaning verification for buildings and ships, and indoor air testing for the virus, the health and safety of our clients, staff, families and communities is always our top priority. As we offer you news on PFAS and emerging contaminants, we wish you and yours the best of health.                                                                                                                    

With so much news on PFAS and emerging contaminants coming out, it’s hard to keep up. That’s why we’re so pleased to bring you our 25th edition of the SGS PFAS Update. As always, you get a summary and links to top stories around North America on news of interest to environmental professionals like you.

In this issue, discover how researchers have demonstrated that they can attract, capture and destroy PFAS; learn about “forever chemicals” found in some of your favorite seafood in Maryland; read about a water district in California suing 3M; and so much more.

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U.S. and Canada

Leachate is the Driving Force for PFAS Sequestration in Landfills
Landfill leachate is the major pathway by which PFAS exit the containment of modern Subtitle D municipal solid waste landfills. PFAS concentrations in leachate vary over time and can be much greater than those found in sanitary wastewaters. The leachate-borne PFAS contribution to the mass loading of publicly owned treatment works (POTW) that accept leachate can equal that contributed by sanitary and industrial wastewaters. This observation contributes to the perception that landfills are PFAS sources.

‘We Drank That Water and Cooked With It For 20-Odd Years’
Chris McNamara was planning to sell his house in December 2015, when he and 48 other households near a National Research Council testing facility learned that the federal agency was testing groundwater and wells in his neigbourhood.

Biden’s EPA Expected to Pass Limits on Some ‘Forever Chemicals’
The EPA under a future Biden administration is expected to quickly move to set regulations on “forever chemicals” in water and other areas, but not to restrict the entire group of thousands of the substances, attorneys said in recent interviews.

FDA Delays Setting Limits on PFAS in Bottled Water
The FDA is declining to set limits for potentially toxic chemicals in bottled water, despite pressure from consumer advocates and a major industry group—a decision the agency justifies in part by pointing to a now-outdated analysis that employed limited testing methods, a review of FDA documents by Consumer Reports shows.

Copolymer Helps Remove Pervasive PFAS Toxins from Environment
Researchers have demonstrated that they can attract, capture and destroy PFAS – a group of federally regulated substances found in everything from nonstick coatings to shampoo and nicknamed ‘the forever chemicals’ due to their persistence in the natural environment.

Study: ‘Nearly Ubiquitous’ Cancer-linked Chemicals in US Water
A recent study has found a “nearly ubiquitous” level of synthetic chemicals in the predominant source of drinking water in the U.S. — surface water.

Survey Results Posted for PFAS Discharge
The Water Quality Control Division has published the current results of its PFAS discharger survey to its website.  This survey asked many facilities who discharge to state waters, like wastewater treatment plants and industrial facilities, about their use and storage of certain products containing PFAS.  As of November 2020, approximately 200 facilities reported a known or suspected PFAS presence. This new information is part of CDPHE’s ongoing work to better understand the risks to state waters from PFAS and how to protect our drinking water from these emerging contaminants. Other parts of this work include the 2020 sampling project.

SCV Water Files Lawsuit Over PFAS Contamination in Santa Clarita
The Santa Clarita Valley Water Agency (SCV Water) has filed a lawsuit against 3M Company, Chemours, DuPont and several other companies, for their roles in PFAS into the water supply in Santa Clarita.

‘Forever Chemicals’ Found in Chesapeake Seafood and Maryland Drinking Water
More testing has found so-called “forever chemicals” in a striped bass, blue crab and oyster from the Chesapeake Bay, as well as in drinking water from household taps in Maryland’s Montgomery County.

Anne Arundel County Firefighting Foam Spill Causes Fish Kill; PFAS Found in Bear Branch Stream
A vendor testing equipment at the Anne Arundel County Fire Training Academy in Millersville in September unintentionally released aqueous film-forming foam into a storm drain, which flowed into Bear Branch, blanketing the water. About 100 dead black-nosed dace, possibly suffocated by the foam covering the water’s surface, were found.

Hudson Settles With Companies Regarding Town’s Water
Hudson – On October 29, 2020, the town of Hudson executed a settlement agreement with Boyd Coating Research Co., Inc., Precision Coating Co. Inc. and Dylan LLC, regarding releases of PFAS from the manufacturing facility at 51 Parmenter Road that adversely impacted the Town’s public drinking water.

$13.9M Mansfield Water Project Proposed to Treat PFAS in System
MANSFIELD – A $13.9 million project to address PFAS, above MassDEP recommended levels in the town water system, goes before special Town Meeting voters Saturday, Nov. 7.

State to Study Impact of PFAS on Health in West Michigan
LANSING, Mich. — The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services is launching a study to learn more about the relationship between PFAS (per-and polyfluoroalkyl substances) and health in residents who have been exposed to different levels of PFAS in their drinking water.

Alarming Levels of PFAS Detected in Groundwater Near East Bay Twp. Neighborhood in TC
Michigan health officials have detected PFAS in the groundwater nearby the Cherry Capital Airport and Coast Guard Air Stations.

Monitoring Finds PFAS in Some Water in Michigan Community
EAST BAY TOWNSHIP, Mich. (AP) — State environmental regulators are looking into whether some residents in a northern Michigan community have been using drinking water contaminated with chemicals.

Huron River PFAS Contamination Levels Drop After 2-Year Treatment
Contaminating substances in the Huron River have significantly declined after two years of treatment, the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy said Thursday.

State Officials Remind Hunters Not to Eat Venison from Deer Taken Within 5 Miles of Clark’s Marsh in Oscoda Township
OSCODA TOWNSHIP, Mich. – The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services and the Department of Natural Resources are reminding hunters not to eat venison from deer taken within five miles of Clark’s Marsh in Oscoda Township. The deer could be contaminated with PFOS (perfluorooctane sulfonic acid), a type of PFAS.

Metro East Residents Want to Know What the Veolia Incinerator Is Burning
Cosey, 79, lives in East St. Louis, near the Veolia Environmental Services incinerator in Sauget. She explained on some days the stench from the plant is overwhelming. She’s lived near the plant for nearly a decade, and the acrid smells are nothing new. But environmental activists in the Metro East are concerned the incinerator could start burning something new: PFAS (per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances) firefighting foam.

New Jersey
NJ Chemical Company Sues, Says It Didn’t Cause Pollution It Paid $3.5M To Clean Up
A South Jersey chemical manufacturer has filed a lawsuit accusing a nearby refinery of being the source of water pollution for which the manufacturer has paid “millions” to remediate for more than a decade.

Rutgers Launches Paulsboro PFAS Study with Public Information Session
Rutgers University’s School of Public Health is inviting residents of Paulsboro in Gloucester County to participate in a national study of how their health is affected if so-called forever chemicals in the PFAS family get into their drinking water.

New York
Saranac Lake Airport Listed as Hazardous Site
The state this week labeled the Adirondack Regional Airport, a town-owned airfield near Saranac Lake, a hazardous waste site.

Newburgh, New Windsor Decry USAF Delays in Cleaning Stewart Base’s Pollution of Tap Water
CITY OF NEWBURGH – Local leaders say they’re indignant at news the Air Force probably won’t prioritize cleanup funds for pollution the military likely caused to the city’s former primary drinking water source.

Water Remediation Begins at Village Wells
The Village of Garden City has begun remediating the contaminant 1,4 dioxane which has been found in water supplies throughout Long Island. Garden City is the only “water purveyor” on Long Island for which 100% of the water wells need treatment for emerging contaminants such as 1,4 dioxane.

North Carolina
Haw River Assembly and City of Burlington Agree to PFAS and 1,4-Dioxane Investigation
CHAPEL HILL, N.C.—The Southern Environmental Law Center, on behalf of the Haw River Assembly, finalized a memorandum of agreement with the City of Burlington in which the city agreed to investigate the sources of per- and polyfluoroalkyl (PFAS) chemicals and 1,4-dioxane in the city’s wastewater discharges.

Duke Researchers Conclude Study into Pittsboro’s Water
PITTSBORO — Duke University researchers presented their findings from a study of PFAS contamination in Pittsboro’s drinking supply at a virtual town hall meeting on Saturday.

Grants of Nearly $500,000 to Impact Bladen County
RALEIGH — Nearly half a million dollars in environmental grants are expected to impact Bladen County.

South Carolina
Three New Firefighting Lawsuits Join South Carolina MDL
Three new firefighting foam lawsuits recently joined the consolidated litigation in the District of South Carolina. Two were filed by plaintiffs claiming to have used the toxic products and then developed cancer, while the third was filed by a California airport district claiming the foams caused water contamination.

DNR Asks Tyco To Expand Sampling of Fish For PFAS
State environmental regulators are asking a Marinette manufacturer of firefighting foam to expand sampling of fish for chemicals known as PFAS. The move comes after sampling in private ponds near Tyco’s fire training facility showed fish had PFAS concentrations that would trigger restrictions on eating fish.

City of La Crosse Starting to Test Ground Water for PFAS
Wisconsin’s DNR has voted this week to restrict the use of firefighting foam that contains dangerous chemicals called PFAS.

Wisconsin Health Officials Recommend Groundwater Caps For 22 Contaminants; List Includes Pesticides, PFAS
State health officials are recommending new groundwater quality standards for 22 contaminants, including some PFAS and pesticides, that they say will ensure safe drinking water for Wisconsin residents.