PFAS Update XXXIV – PFAS Science Research and News Around North America

PFAS News Shows PFAS Research, Cleanup Funding, Legislation and Legal Action Abound Around North America

The SGS PFAS Update XXXIV has very exciting news on the release of new PFAS methods by the EPA and DoD that were both developed and validated by SGS. In major news, we cover a new study that says high concentrations of PFAS are in the surface of seawater near melting ice floes in the Arctic. Also in this issue, scientists are studying how PFAS travels into groundwater.  The PFAS Update, in previous issues, has run articles about studies on PFAS in food packaging, breast milk, food, cosmetics, fish and more. While the science community continues to conduct important studies, communities throughout North America are asking for and taking action on PFAS and emerging contaminants in real time. SGS presents the news here that will help keep you informed on the issues that are relevant to you as an environmental professional.

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SGS News  

SGS AXYS Now Offers PFAS Analysis by the New EPA 1633 Draft Method

The EPA has announced the availability of the new EPA 1633 draft method that was developed and single-laboratory validated by SGS AXYS. With the release of this method, SGS AXYS is pleased to offer PFAS analysis in non-potable water, solids and tissue by EPA 1633 Draft.

SGS AXYS’ Drs. Hamilton and Chandramouli Praised by NAVSEA for Contribution to Testing Method

SGS AXYS developed and validated this method for the Firefighting Foam Coalition (an industry consortium) with the DoD as a stakeholder in the process. The DoD used this method as the basis of a multi-lab validation study.

U.S. and Canada

EPA Releases Preliminary 2020 Toxics Release Inventory Data
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently published preliminary 2020 Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) data about chemical releases, chemical waste management, and pollution prevention activities. The data covers activities that occurred at nearly 21,000 federal and industrial facilities across the U.S. and includes the first-ever reporting on PFAS added to the TRI by the 2020 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA).

$10 Billion in Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill Would Go to PFAS Cleanup
The bipartisan federal infrastructure bill, that senators finished writing this past weekend, would include $10 billion for PFAS cleanup.

Quebec University Starting ‘Observatory’ to Watch Lake Memphremagog’s Health
A Canadian university has launched a program to monitor Lake Memphremagog’s water quality and health.

Pentagon Failing to Study Firefighter PFAS Exposure, Says Internal Audit
The U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) is not planning to study the long-term health of military firefighters exposed to toxic PFAS chemicals despite taking steps to obtain the necessary blood testing data, according to an internal inspector general audit.

Melting Arctic Ice Carries High Levels of ‘Forever Chemicals,’ Study Finds
TORONTO — A new study has found high concentrations of toxic “forever chemicals” in the surface of seawater near melting ice floes in the Arctic.


Federal Money could Boost PFAS Groundwater Cleanups in Tucson
Arizona could get more than $70 million annually for five years to clean up PFAS-tainted groundwater if a new infrastructure bill that just passed the U.S. Senate becomes law, says U.S. Sen. Mark Kelly’s office.

UArizona studies how PFAS travels to groundwater
A $1.3 million study is underway at the University of Arizona to learn more about how PFAS enters the ground and contaminates water to effort remediation.


Orange County Receives $131M WIFIA Loan for PFAS 
Yesterday, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced a $131 million Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA) loan to the Orange County Water District (OCWD) to help PFAS from drinking water sourced from local groundwater.

Toxic ‘Forever Chemicals’ Suspected at Oil Sites Across California, Including In Sacramento Region
At least 162 oil refineries and other petroleum-holding facilities in California have likely stored or used materials containing per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), a class of synthetic chemicals that persist indefinitely in the environment and are linked to severe illnesses, according to state water regulators.


State PFAS Ban Takes Effect Oct. 1
A new Connecticut state law banning the use of Class B firefighting foam containing perfluoroalkyl or polyfluoroalkyl substances takes effect Oct. 1, 2021.


Portsmouth’s Haven Well to Supply Water Again, 7 Years After PFAS Contamination Found
PORTSMOUTH – City officials have announced plans to bring the Haven well back online this week, seven years after it was shut down because of the presence of toxic PFAS chemicals in the water.


Officials Work to Keep “Forever Chemicals” Out of Baltimore’s Water
You may not have heard of … PFAS… Baltimore does not have worrisome levels of the chemicals in its drinking water, but recommends the city, state, and federal government all begin to take action to keep it that way.


Cape Towns Look to Congress to Help Pay PFAS Cleanup Costs
The Barnstable Fire District’s drinking water system, which supplies water to 3,500 to 4,500 residents of scenic and historic Barnstable Village. Bisected by Route 6A, the village has captain’s homes, Sturgis Library, the county courthouse complex and other attractions. It also lies close to the Barnstable County Fire/Rescue Training Academy and Cape Cod Gateway Airport (formerly Barnstable Municipal Airport) either or both of which may be the source of toxic PFAS chemicals that have invaded drinking water wells — and may require $10 million, possibly as much as $20 million, to remove.


Rockford Receives $4.5M Grant to Address PFAS Contamination in Algoma Twp.
The Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy (EGLE) plans to award Rockford a $4.5 million grant to extend municipal drinking water to homes affected by PFAS contamination in their private wells in Algoma Township.

Sewage spills, Gelman Plume & PFAS: A Deep Dive into Ann Arbor’s Ongoing Water Pollution Issues
The city of Ann Arbor has a long and complicated history of water contamination, leading to the ongoing concern from Ann Arbor residents about the health and environmental threats water pollution poses to cities.

PFAS Found at Old Grand Haven Power Plant, City Works to Contain Chemical
GRAND HAVEN, Mich. (AP) — Toxic chemicals have been found at the site of a former coal plant in western Michigan. Routine testing in June by the Grand Haven Board of Light and Power revealed the presence of PFAS at the old J.B. Sims Generating Station on Harbor Island, WOOD-TV reported Friday.


Minnesota Issues Plan to Treat Water Marred By 3M Chemicals
Minnesota pollution control and natural resources officials on Wednesday released a $700 million plan to improve the drinking water for 14 Twin Cities communities whose groundwater was contaminated due to decades-long chemical disposal by 3M Co.

New Hampshire

Sununu Signs PFAS Water Protection Bills for New Hampshire 
Gov. Chris Sununu has signed several bills aimed at reducing ‘forever chemicals’ and other contamination in New Hampshire’s drinking water systems.

Air Filtration System to Keep PFAS from Entering Air Now Operational at Saint-Gobain
A massive air filtration system is now up and running at Saint-Gobain in Merrimack. It’s part of an agreement with the state Department of Environmental Services meant to keep PFAS from flowing out of the plant and contaminating the air.

New Mexico

Military Warns Farmers Nationwide about PFAS Contamination that Threatens Their Livelihood
CLOVIS, New Mexico (SBG) — For years, Spotlight on America has been investigating contamination at military installations across the country, caused by the use of toxic firefighting foam that contains the so-called forever chemicals known as PFAS. As we’ve reported, cleanup is expected to take the Defense Department as long as 30 years, costing taxpayers tens of billions of dollars. But as the DoD struggles to find a way to fix the mess inside the fences of its bases, we discovered it’s now warning neighboring farmers and agricultural operators whose livelihoods may be threatened by the contamination.

New York

DEC Will Pay New Windsor $3.6 Million for Its Water Purchases After Well Contamination
The town of New Windsor is set to get $3.6 million in state funds as reimbursement for the drinking water it has been forced to buy from New York City after the chemical PFAS contaminated its new wells.

New Nassau Initiative Will Help Providers Clean Water
On Wednesday, Nassau County Executive Laura Curran announced a new $1.5 million fund that will be made available to water districts around the county to help them clean contaminants out of the water.

North Carolina

Pittsboro Leaders Call for National Attention to Town’s PFAS Troubles
In a specially convened Pittsboro board meeting last week — the second since large “slugs” of 1,4-Dioxane were recently discharged into the Haw River, from where Pittsboro draws its drinking water — commissioners and town staff doubled down on previous demands for upstream water users to stop polluting the Haw, and called for national media to heighten social pressure.

Chemours Making Progress Reducing Legacy PFAS Loading into Cape Fear River
BLADEN COUNTY, N.C. (WECT) – The Chemours Company (Chemours) announced Thursday it had achieved two additional milestones at its Fayetteville Works site that will reduce the loading of legacy PFAS into the Cape Fear River. According to a news release from Chemours, construction of a complex system designed to capture, remove, and treat a minimum of 99% of PFAS from stormwater near two of the site’s manufacturing units was completed in June, meeting consent order requirements.


DEP To Propose Limits On PFAS-Family Chemicals That It Says Balance Cost And Public Health
An advisory panel to the Department of Environmental Protection meets today to consider a plan to set Pennsylvania’s first independent health limits on two kinds of “forever chemicals” in drinking water amid criticism from environmentalists that the proposed rules wouldn’t do enough to protect public health.


Wisconsin Hires California Law Firm to go after PFAS polluters
Wisconsin has chosen a California environmental law firm to help investigate and go after those responsible for PFAS contamination.

Petenwell Lake Fish Consumption Advisory Issued Over PFAS Levels
State officials are warning anglers to reduce their consumption of yellow perch and crappies harvested from the Petenwell Flowage after the fish tested positive for high levels of “forever chemicals.”

Scientific Team Creates Underground Map to Address Rhinelander PFAS Problems
Last week, ground-penetrating radar sensors glided across the grass near Rhinelander wells 7 and 8, attached to a customized four-wheeled cart.