PFAS Update XXXIII: What’s the Latest on PFAS and Emerging Contaminants in the U.S. and Canada?

What’s happening with PFAS and emerging contaminants lately? So much that it’s hard to fit it all in to this 33rd edition of the SGS PFAS Update. You will, however, find a thorough overview of the issues affecting the entire U.S., Canada, and 16 individual states.  Everyone is wondering if and how soon the federal government will legislate and regulate PFAS, and that’s covered here.  Meanwhile, Illinois Connecticut, and Maine, for example, are either considering increased regulation or establishing it. And many other states are testing for or disclosing PFAS contamination. It’s all here.

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U.S. and Canada

‘Bombshell’ Report: DOD Failed to Protect Troops from PFAS
The Department of Defense waited five years to warn military members about the dangers of PFAS and potential contamination, according to a new report issued by government watchdogs on Friday.

DoD Holds Public Outreach to Engage with PFAS Stakeholders
On Wednesday, July 14, the Defense Department hosted, for the first time, an online forum that allowed for an open and transparent dialogue between the department and stakeholders affected by the presence of PFAS.

Traffic and Noise Impacts Possible with PFAS-Related Survey
Ontario, Canada — A geophysical survey is underway around 22 Wing CFB North Bay, the Jack Garland Airport and various roadways. They include sections of Airport Road, Carmichael Drive, Lees Road, Tower Drive, Trout Lake Road and Northmount Road. Department of National Defence (DND) officials say the survey is being done as a part of their PFAS project to better understand the geology in the area.

PFAS Legislation and Regulation: Increased Risk for Business
Efforts by federal lawmakers and regulators to address sites contaminated with PFAS—known as “forever chemicals” for their persistent and bioaccumulative properties—have drawn increased attention during the 117th Congress and in the Biden administration. For the third straight Congress, legislation is moving to speed the cleanup of contaminated sites and to expand the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) authority to regulate PFAS under several different environmental statutes.

Legislation Aims to Clean Up PFAS at Military Sites
Legislation has been introduced in Congress to provide $10 billion to help clean up contamination at the so-called “Filthy Fifty” military bases across the country.

Improved Medical Screening in PFAS-Impacted Communities to Identify Early Disease
When people learn, they are exposed to toxic chemicals, they wonder what it means for their health and often want to take protective action. We’ve heard this in our conversations with residents of PFAS-affected communities, and in their public talks—calls for medical screening to learn about potential effects on their own and their families’ health. However, people exposed to PFAS often face significant hurdles in getting screened for health effects from the exposure.

E.P.A. Approved Toxic Chemicals for Fracking a Decade Ago, New Files Show
For much of the past decade, oil companies engaged in drilling and fracking have been allowed to pump into the ground chemicals that, over time, can break down into toxic substances known as PFAS — a class of long-lasting compounds known to pose a threat to people and wildlife — according to internal documents from the Environmental Protection Agency.


Hudson, Companies Responsible for Elevated PFAS Levels in Drinking Water Reach Settlement
HUDSON — The town has reached a settlement with the three companies deemed responsible for causing elevated levels of a contaminant in the town’s drinking water last year. The state Department of Environmental Protection last year attributed PFAS high levels in the town’s drinking water supply to Precision Coating Co. Inc., Boyd Coating Research Co. Inc. and Dylan, LLC.


Connecticut Bans PFAS in Food Containers, Firefighting Foam
Connecticut has banned the use of PFAS chemicals in firefighting foam and food containers.


DuPont, Chemours, Corteva to Pay Delaware Millions Over Damage from PFAS or ‘Forever Chemicals’
DuPont, Chemours and Corteva will pay millions of dollars to the state of Delaware, according to a settlement reached between the Delaware Department of Justice and the three companies – an agreement that holds the companies responsible for decades of damage done to Delaware’s environment through toxic chemicals known as PFAS.


Illinois EPA Proposes Groundwater Standards for 5 PFAS Compounds
The Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (IEPA) released new proposed groundwater quality standards for five PFAS substances.  If formally adopted, the proposed regulations would establish the state’s first enforceable standards for PFAS.


Maine Lawmakers Pass Package of Bills to Address ‘Forever Chemical’ Threat
Few issues unified Maine lawmakers more this year than the toxic class of chemicals known as PFAS, which have been detected at dangerous levels in some of the state’s dairy farms and drinking water supplies. The Legislature has passed a number of bills over the last few months to address the threat of so-called “forever chemicals,” which can take hundreds of years to break down and have been linked to health problems including cancer, low infant birth weights and compromised immune systems.


Bayfront Park Water Testing Shows Elevated Levels of PFAS
The Town of Chesapeake Beach initiated a voluntary third-party test for PFAS of the waters at Bayfront Park within two locations, the creek and the Bay. The results show levels of per-and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) at both locations.


Concerns, Costs of PFAS Absorbing More Local Energy
Local officials managing the impact of water contaminated with PFAS called on legislators studying the issue to consider creating more unified approaches, increase funding for municipalities, and roll out more public education programs to inform residents of potentially harmful health impacts.

Town To Seek Source of PFAS Contamination
CHATHAM — Responding to the shutdown of a public water supply well contaminated by “forever chemicals,” the select board Tuesday threw its support behind an effort to identify the specific source of that pollution.  Whether or not the search for PFAS proves fruitful, the board is also fast-tracking a multi-million-dollar request to ensure adequate drinking water supplies in the future.

New Contaminants Discovered in Six Cape Cod Watersheds
HYANNIS – A recent webinar revealed that new studies have found large amounts of previously undiscovered PFAS in Cape Cod watersheds.

New Jersey

NJ Towns Sue Makers of ‘Forever Chemicals,’ Saying Companies Must Pay for Cleanup
Four New Jersey towns and an investor-owned water supplier are suing 3M, DuPont and other makers of PFAS — so-called forever chemicals — saying the companies knew their products would contaminate drinking water but continued to sell them, and must now pay for their cleanup.

New Mexico

Report: Military’s Flawed Oversight of Toxic Chemicals Increased Risks to Personnel, Public
The U.S. Defense Department responded too slowly to reduce the dangers of cancer-causing chemicals used in firefighting foam, despite knowing the health hazards for decades, and then failed to put in place adequate measures to protect personnel, the environment and communities near military bases, says a newly released inspector general’s report.

New York

Groups Want NYS to Take Further Action on PFAS Contamination in Rockland County
More than 80 organizations are urging New York Governor Andrew Cuomo to protect Rockland County drinking water from PFAS contamination. It comes some seven months after residents learned the county’s drinking water, in several locations, was contaminated with PFOA and PFOS.

North Carolina

State Officials Investigating Source of Cleveland County PFAS Contamination
Tests show high PFAS levels at site that received contaminated soil from massive Colonial Pipeline spill, as well as nearby stream.

North Dakota

Department of Environmental Quality Tests Various Sites for PFAS
The North Dakota Department of Environmental Quality sampled 55 drinking water treatment plants for PFAS in October and recently completed that report. Although PFAS was detected in three systems, only one sample had a concentration high enough to be measurable, and none of the three detections were at a health advisory level.


PFAS Report Identifies Hundreds of Pennsylvania Manufacturing Sites
A new report identifies nearly 30,000 industrial sites in the U.S. — including hundreds in Pennsylvania — as “suspected industrial discharge sites” that may be at risk for leaching a class of toxic chemicals known as PFAS into drinking water supplies.

State Lawmakers Announce Funds for PFAS Study
HARRISBURG — Several state lawmakers have announced that money to fund Temple University’s study into the links between PFAS contamination and cancer has been included in the just-passed state budget for the 2021-22 term.


Extensive Testing for PFAS in Memphremagog to Start
An extensive sampling of Lake Memphremagog for 36 types of PFAS analytes is slated to start in July.  PFAS are chemicals used in the production of household items like non-stick pans, stain-repellant carpets, and waterproof jackets.  They have been dubbed the “forever chemicals”; once released into the environment, they are very difficult to remove from ground and surface water.


PFAS Detected in City of Eau Claire Wells
The City of Eau Claire says PFAS is being detected in city wells. Four city wells were found to have PFAS levels that exceeded newly-recommended safety levels that were instituted in June by the Wisconsin Dept. of Natural Resource and the Wisconsin Dept. of Health Services. City officials say that the four wells were immediately shut off.

Tyco Submits to the Wisconsin DNR PFAS Results for Foam in Ditches.
The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) received sample results from Johnson Controls, Inc., and Tyco Fire Products, (JCI/Tyco), confirming the presence of PFAS in surface water foam collected on waterways in the city of Marinette and the town of Peshtigo.


Airport Sues Over PFAS Pollution in Snake River Aquifer
The Jackson Hole Airport Board recently agreed to reduce the threshold adjacent landowners must meet to qualify for a residential PFAS filter, designed to filter out perfluoroalkyl substances that have leached into the groundwater. The airport also joined a lawsuit with 500-plus plaintiffs who are suing the manufacturers of aviation firefighting foam tied to the substance.