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Department of Environmental Protection is investigating possible PFAS contamination at Bowdoinham, starting in mid-January

Department of Environmental Protection is investigating possible PFAS contamination at Bowdoinham, starting in mid-January

Department of Environmental Protection investigating potential PFAS contamination in Bowdoinham through mid-January

Stoneridge Farm in Arundel has soil and grass contaminated with PFAS chemicals. This is due to sewage sludge that was spread on the farm fields between 1983-2004. The concern for the chemicals has been shifted to the farmers’ plight. Gregory Rec / Portland Press Herald

The Maine Department of Environmental Protection will continue to investigate so-called “forever chemicals” in Bowdoinham soil up until mid-January.

On Dec. 3, the DEP made their first field visit to Bowdoinham, where staff tested soils and groundwater at various sites.

Additional field visits will be made in Bowdoinham during the last week of Dezember and the second week of Januar, according to David Madore, Deputy Commissioner of Maine Department of Environmental Protection. Groundwater sampling will be the focus. The DEP staff is in the process to contact residents where sampling will take place.

The state identified 34 towns in October, from small rural communities like Bowdoinham, to larger cities like Westbrook. These would be tested for PFAS contamination using various risk factors.

According to Bowdoinham’s letter, the DEP reviewed decades worth of sludge application records and licenses to compile the 34 communities.

The state’s groundwater of per and polyfluoroalkyl substances or PFAS concentration limit is set at 400,000 parts/ trillion. However, the state’s drinking water standard is 20 nanograms/liter for the six different PFAS.

Portland Press Herald analysis on DEP documents revealed that at least eight paper companies spread more then 500,000 cubic yards paper mill waste on Maine land between 1989 and 2016. This is likely to be a conservative estimate since it doesn’t include biosolids from wastewater treatment plants that treated paper mill sludge or wastewater.

Nonstick cookware, carpets and food packaging all use PFAS. These chemicals can increase your risk of certain types cancer, increase blood pressure during pregnancy and cause liver and renal problems. They can also impair the immune function.

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Madore stated that DEP would use and keep the data collected to determine the extent PFAS contamination in Maine.

Madore said that DEPs hydrogeologists as well as geologists will be able learn more about the movement of PFAS in soil and groundwater as data is collected. This information is vital as it will help us ensure that all Maine residents have safe drinking water.

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