PFAS Update XXVIII: Reporting from Around North America on PFAS and Emerging Contaminants

PFAS Update XXVIII: Reporting from Around North America 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.

SGS PFAS Update XXVIII reports, this month, from 15 states in addition to stories affecting the US, Canada and beyond. We look at new initiatives to confront PFAS in Indiana’s drinking water, new detection of PFAS in New York and North Carolina, a major beverage manufacturer reducing PFAS in its mineral water, various legal actions involving PFAS and emerging contaminants and more. You, as an environmental professional, have valuable and current news at your fingertips, that keeps you up to date on important issues in your industry.

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EPA Takes Action to Address PFAS in Drinking Water
The EPA issued two actions to protect public health by PFAS in drinking water, highlighting the agency’s commitment to address these long-lasting “forever chemicals” that can enter drinking water supplies and impact communities across the United States.

Topo Chico Cuts PFAS Levels by More Than Half – Consumer Reports
Coca-Cola has reduced the level of PFAS chemicals in Topo Chico Mineral Water, the beverage maker’s popular sparkling mineral water, according to new tests by Consumer Reports. But those levels are still above a cutoff that some scientists and consumer advocates believe is more appropriate for drinking water, including bottled water.

PFAS Regulation: Business Should Plan Now for Financial Impacts
Insurers and corporations have spent the last few years attempting to determine the projected impact of PFAS regulation on future business interruption and loss projections, and an associated timeline under which to consider them.

Bipartisan Congressional PFAS Task Force Announces Relaunch in New Congress
Members of the bipartisan Congressional PFAS Task Force held a virtual press conference Friday, Jan. 29, 2021, to announce the relaunch of the task force in the 117th Congress and reaffirm their commitment to tackle contamination by a group of chemicals known as PFAS.

New University of Arizona Studies Looking at Possible PFAS-COVID-19 Link
Three new University of Arizona-led studies are trying to determine if “forever chemicals” known as PFAS compounds increase the risk of contracting COVID-19 or weaken vaccines’ ability to protect against the disease.

Connecticut Water Sends Residents Warning Letter About Increased Levels of PFAS in Source Water
Connecticut Water sent a notification to Unionville customers recently that PFAS, known as forever chemicals, have been detected in measurable amounts in source water in Farmington.

State Settles with Chemical Company Over Alleged PFAS Contamination in Marshallton

Delaware has another instance of PFAS pollution on its hands. The state Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control (DNREC) signed a settlement this week with Solvay Specialty Polymers USA—a company that until last fall, operated an industrial facility along Kirkwood Highway in Marshallton.

PFAS State Health Advisory
On January 28, 2021, Illinois EPA issued four statewide health advisories for PFAS as a result of an ongoing sampling initiative of PFAS chemicals in Illinois community water supplies.

Legislation Tackles “Forever Chemicals” Found in Indianapolis’ Drinking Water
Concern is growing nationwide about a family of toxic chemicals found in everything from fabrics to food service containers. And that concern has now reached the Indiana statehouse.

High Levels of Man-Made Chemicals Detected in Hampstead, Westminster Drinking Water

Hampstead residents were notified earlier this month that high levels of man-made chemicals were detected in the town’s drinking water.

High Level of PFAS Contamination Detected in One of Natick’s ‘Active’ Sources of Drinking Water
One of the town’s “active” drinking water sources is contaminated with a group of chemicals known as PFAS6 that exceed a safe level set by the state, and Natick officials don’t know for sure where its coming from.

Island Firefighter at Forefront of Fight to Ban PFAS from Gear
Sean Mitchell waited anxiously last week for firefighting unions across the United States and Canada to vote on a resolution he drafted to help rid the protective gear firefighters wear of the pervasive toxic chemicals known as PFAS.

Chelmsford to Conduct Study to Find Source of PFAS in Water
Water tested at 54 Richardson Road, a proposed site for a temporary fire station, contains high levels of PFAS, according to a study conducted by the town.

‘Water is Life’: Record-Eagle Testing Project Uncovers PFAS in Indigenous Household Wells
Sharon Edgington said she has lived in some pretty “crummy” places. But she eventually wondered whether her water may have been affected by a fire that broke out at a scrap tire facility in Grawn in the mid-1990s which firefighters battled in part with the use of chemical-laden foam. So, when the opportunity arose to screen her water for PFAS chemicals for free, she took it.

Stanton Speaks with EGLE about Next Steps for Addressing PFAS Contamination in Old Landfill
Having found traces of PFAS in an old landfill north of Central Montcalm High School, city of Stanton officials are working with the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy (EGLE) to determine just how serious the problem might be.

MPCA, State Agencies Reveal Statewide Blueprint to Address PFAS
The MPCA has released Minnesota’s PFAS Blueprint — a strategic, coordinated approach developed by multiple agencies to protect families and communities from PFAS. The Blueprint includes 10 priority areas centered on additional research, new health guidance, drinking water and food protections, as well as additional tools for cleanup and prevention.

New Mexico
New Mexico Petitions U.S. Court of Appeals Over PFAS Water Contamination by Department of Defense
The New Mexico Environment Department (NMED) and the New Mexico Attorney General (NMAG) filed a writ of mandamus requesting that the Fourth Circuit Court vacate its decision to transfer New Mexico’s PFAS litigation into multi-district litigation in South Carolina and remand the matter back to the District of New Mexico.

New York
As NYSDEC Warns Norlite, Environmentalists Fault DEC Over PFAS At Norlite
Already under intense scrutiny from environmental advocates and local elected officials, the Norlite plant in Cohoes is facing new clean air violations from the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. But environmentalists are also taking aim at the DEC.

State Health Department: Pollutants Detected in Local Water
Elmont and Franklin Square residents serviced by the Water Authority of Western Nassau County were surprised to receive a letter from the New York State Department of Health stating that potentially harmful chemicals had been found in the utility’s wells at rates higher than the state’s standards.

PFOA Found in Rockland County Public Water Supply
NEW CITY – Climate, water, and environmental advocacy groups in the Mid-Hudson have issued a call-to-action for residents of Rockland County to demand Governor Cuomo investigate and mitigate the recently discovered PFOA contamination of public water in the county.

PFAS Destruction and Disposal Solutions May Raise Liability, Long-term Cost 
NIAGARA FALLS, NY — GHD, one of the world’s leading engineering consulting firms, is helping waste generators and operators across the U.S. navigate the complex array of solutions available for the destruction and disposal of PFAS and PFAS-containing materials from non-consumer products. The initiative follows EPA’s interim guidance on PFAS destruction and disposal released in December 2020.

Scientists ask: Can Nanotech and Microbes Partner to Destroy PFAS?
BUFFALO, N.Y. — Imagine this: In a wastewater treatment plant, engineered molecular-scale scissors chop up PFAS, toxic compounds that are so tough to break down that they’re called “forever chemicals.” Then, microbes digest the molecular scraps, clearing them from the water.

North Carolina
CFPUA: Chemours Failing to Meet Obligations to Reduce PFAS Loading in Cape Fear River

CFPUA has expressed concerns to state regulators “about the apparent ineffectiveness of measures Chemours has taken so far to reduce the mass loading of its PFAS into the Cape Fear River.”

ONWASA Halts Operation of Two Water Production Wells After Presence of PFAS

The Onslow Water and Sewer Authority said it has halted operation of two water production wells in the Holly Ridge area after the discovery of a chemical that could lead to adverse health effects.

State to Test 18 Private Dayton Area Wells for ‘Forever Chemicals’
The state of Ohio recently collected water samples from 18 private wells in Montgomery County, and plans to test them for PFAS, a group of contaminants that may cause cancer and other health issues.

Experts: Test for These Toxins Regularly if Your Drinking Water Comes from a Well

Most water from the region’s large underground aquifer is safe to drink untreated, but homeowners might not always be aware of all the potential contaminants, including “forever chemicals” that do not have a color, taste or smell.

PA Lawmakers Push for $1.6M in State Budget for PFAS Cancer Study
State lawmakers are asking Gov. Tom Wolf to include $1.6 million for a PFAS study investigating links between the unregulated chemicals and cancer in his upcoming fiscal plan.

Attorney Puts City of La Crosse on Notice for PFAS Contamination
The City of La Crosse could be in store for a long and expensive new legal battle.  An attorney representing 125 people served the city for contaminating their private wells.  The paperwork is the first step toward a possible lawsuit.

Evers Admin to Sue Over PFAS, Legal Pathway Uncharted in Wisconsin
MADISON, Wis. — In late January, Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers announced his administration would start pursuing legal action against companies responsible for PFAS contamination. The legal road towards implementing consequences to the polluters of the set of chemicals isn’t clear.