The Clean Water Blog

Farmington River. Credit Jon-Lewis, Flickr--Creative Commons

Update: PFAS in Connecticut

It’s unfortunate that it took a tragic spill of nearly 40,000 gallons of firefighting foam into the Farmington River for PFAS contamination to finally get some attention in Connecticut. And we’re finally getting some action -- U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal is leading efforts in Washington to assure that firefighting foam containing PFAS chemicals is no longer required by the Department of Defense (DOD). We thank the Senator for his efforts and are proud to join with him to urge strong federal action. 

This bipartisan federal bill is good news as the use of this foam at military bases is a major source of contamination. Many large airports, like Bradley, are required to keep this foam available under current rules. These chemicals don’t break down and once in the environment and are mobile -- they get into the soil and water sources.  These spills are not rare -- PFAS chemicals from firefighting foam used at Westchester County airport contaminated private drinking wells in Greenwich CT in 2018.  The spill into the “wild and scenic” Farmington River has caused alarm and health concerns among residents and concern for animals, fishing, recreation has already negatively impacted the economy. The chemicals will likely get into fish, sediment and be carried far from the original spill site.

Senator Blumenthal’s efforts to garner bipartisan support for a federal bill that restricts the use of PFAS containing foam will have a positive impact on Connecticut and I stood with him at the CT Air National Guard as he discussed the federal bill going forward.  The CT Air National Guard has done tremendous work to focus on protecting the environment.  It was an honor to be there alongside Senator Blumenthal and Major Patterson today to urge comprehensive action to protect those that protect us--military personnel, firefighters and first responders-- by shifting away from foam and other products that contain toxic PFAS chemicals.