Now Reading
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, Arundel, has soil and grass contaminated by PFAS chemicals. The contamination is due to sewage effluent that was spread on the farm field between 1983 and 2004. The farmers’ plight has shifted the attention to the chemicals. Gregory Rec / Portland Press Herald

The Maine Department of Environmental Protection continues to investigate the Bowdoinham soil for so-called permanent chemicals until mid-January.

The DEP conducted a first field visit at Bowdoinham on December 3, where staff tested soil, groundwater, and other sites.

Additional field visits are planned for Bowdoinham in the last week of November and the second weeks of January, according to David Madore (Deputy Commissioner of Maine Department of Environmental Protection). Groundwater sampling will be the main focus. The DEP staff are currently contacting residents to find out where sampling is planned.

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, the DEP had reviewed decades of licenses as well as sludge applications records to compile the list.

The state’s groundwater of per and polyfluoroalkyl substances or PFAS concentration limit is set at 400,000 parts/ trillion. However, the established state 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.

See Also
A permanent post-pandemic switch to hybrid working may do little to reduce carbon emissions, new research from the University of Sussex Business School claims (file photo)

Nonstick cookware, carpets, food packaging, and firefighting foams all contain 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 your immune system.

Madore stated that the DEP would use the data to determine the extent and severity of 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 is important because it will allow us to ensure that all Maine residents are able to drink safe water.

View Comments (0)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.