Senator Collins, Representative Pingree Urge EPA to Prioritize PFAS Issues in Maine

EPA recently established the Council on PFAS to better understand and reduce potential risks caused by these chemicals

Press Releases

Posted Mon, 05/24/2021 – 10:41

Between 2013-2019, 53 public water systems tested in Maine contained PFAS chemicals

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Susan Collins (R-ME) and Representative Chellie Pingree (D-ME) sent a letter to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Acting Regional Administrator Deborah Szaro, who has recently been appointed to lead the agency’s new Council on PFAS. In the letter, they highlighted Maine’s extensive and unfortunate history with PFAS issues and urged the Council to work with the State of Maine on remediation.

“We are pleased that the EPA has established this new council on PFAS. Such leadership is needed to facilitate the federal, state, and local cooperation necessary to address the public health risks and economic harm caused by these contaminants,” wrote Senator Collins and Congresswoman Pingree. “Maine has been faced with several cases of severe PFAS contamination over the past several years, so we urge the EPC to work closely with and rely on the experience and expertise of Maine stakeholders in addressing these challenges.”

“In 2016, a dairy farmer in Arundel, Maine, discovered the milk produced by his cows was tainted from PFAS contamination. In 2020, a dairy farm located in Fairfield, Maine, found PFAS levels that were 153 times higher than Maine’s standard for determining whether milk is fit for sale. The PFAS contamination on both of these farms came from wastewater sludge spread as fertilizer and has prevented these farms from selling products,” continued Senator Collins and Representative Pingree. “As you can imagine, the discovery of PFAS contamination has caused financial hardship for these Maine farms and concern amongst the broader dairy community. Additionally, it has strained the Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation, and Forestry’s resources as there is little federal aid available to assist farms facing a PFAS problem.”

In addition to the difficulties PFAS has created for farmers, Senator Collins and Representative Pingree raised the issues these chemicals have created for public water supplies. Sampling activities conducted by EPA and the State of Maine between 2013 and 2019 have resulted in testing for PFAS concentration in a total of 53 public water systems in Maine, which represent more than 65 percent of Maine’s population that is served by Community Water Systems.

Click HERE to read the full letter.