Unraveling a toxic nightmare: More wells show ‘forever chemicals’

Author: Vivien Leigh (NEWS CENTER Maine)
Published: 1:29 PM EDT May 3, 2021
Updated: 3:19 PM EDT May 6, 2021
FAIRFIELD, Maine — Catch Vivien Leigh’s full story Thursday at 6 p.m. on NEWS CENTER Maine.

The Somerset County town of Fairfield remains at the center of the largest state investigation into so-called “forever chemicals.”

PFAS compounds are a class of industrial chemicals found in a number of household products. But they don’t naturally break down and there’s no known way to destroy them.

Tests of private wells show alarming levels of the compounds, linked in federal studies to cancer, low birth weight, and other serious health problems.

Regulators say the chemicals were in wastewater sludge, legally used as farm fertilizer, that leached into the groundwater for decades.

In Fairfield, 63 wells have tested above the U.S. Department of Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) safe advisory limit. But the number of tainted wells is growing. Unsafe PFAS levels are also showing up in communities just east southwest of Fairfield.

Residents say they are trapped in a toxic nightmare they can’t wake up from. EPA investigators want to know whether the PFAS contamination is isolated to this area in Somerset County or is a much larger state-wide problem.

Source: https://www.newscentermaine.com/article/tech/science/environment/pfas/unraveling-a-toxic-nightmare-more-wells-show-forever-chemicals-pfas-in-maine/97-8aeb7dba-9232-443f-b0e5-d1b74a5b3975