DEEP: Connecticut Interagency PFAS Task Force Releases Draft PFAS Action Plan for Public Comment

2019 Press Release
 
October 1, 2019
 
Connecticut Interagency PFAS Task Force Releases Draft PFAS Action Plan for Public Comment
 
Commissioner Katie S. Dykes of the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) and Commissioner Renée Coleman-Mitchell of the Department of Public Health (DPH), co-chairs of the Connecticut Interagency PFAS Task Force, announce the release today of the Task Force’s Draft PFAS Action Plan.  The Task Force, established by Governor Ned Lamont in July, comprises representatives of nearly twenty state agencies and entities charged with addressing ways to protect Connecticut’s residents and environment from the harmful effects of the class of widely-used chemicals called per- and polyfluorinated alkyl substances (PFAS). The Task Force convened a number of public meetings focused on human health, pollution prevention, and remediation with the goal of identifying key actions than can be taken to address PFAS in our communities. The Draft PFAS Action Plan identifies a number of recommended actions, including potential legislative opportunities to support such actions, and is available for public review on the Task Force’s website, www.ct.gov/CTPFASTaskForce.
 
“The science is becoming increasingly clear about the risk associated with these forever chemicals to people and our environment. And this is affecting communities across our nation including here in Connecticut,” said DEEP Commissioner Katie Dykes. “This Task Force is recommending a number of ways to minimize exposure to residents, limit future releases into our environment and clean up historical releases of these contaminants. We welcome the public’s review and feedback on the proposed actions and look forward to working with stakeholders to implement steps to address this issue.”
 
“DPH remains committed to addressing this emerging public health issue. This includes working with stakeholders, partnering agencies, and the public through open communication to find the best solution,” said DPH Commissioner Renée Coleman-Mitchell. “This is a serious health issue and we remain committed to working with the public and hearing from them on the issue.”
 
Summary of Key Recommended Actions from the Draft PFAS Action Plan:

To minimize Connecticut residents’ PFAS exposure:
  • Test drinking water for PFAS, including bottled water.
  • Assess food-related PFAS exposure pathways, including fish and shellfish, agricultural products, and food service ware.
  • Minimize occupational exposure to PFAS.
To minimize future releases of PFAS to the environment:
  • Reduce or prevent future releases of PFAS-containing firefighting foam, known as aqueous film-forming foam (AFFF), to the environment. AFFF is used to extinguish high-hazard, flammable liquid fires.
  • Identify and address other significant sources of PFAS contamination.
To identify, assess, and clean up historical releases of PFAS to the environment:
  • Identify areas of concern throughout the state
  • Require testing of environmental media at sites where PFAS are likely to have been released.
  • Evaluate corrective measures and establish PFAS cleanup standards.
Cross-Cutting Actions to address real or perceived risks from PFAS:
  • Enhance education, outreach, and communication on PFAS.
Public comments on the Draft Action Plan will be accepted through Oct. 15, 2019 and can be submitted electronically to the Task Force via email at CTPFAS@ct.gov or be mailed to Ray Frigon, Assistant Director, Remediation Division, Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, 79 Elm Street, Hartford, CT 06106.  Following the close of the public comment period, the Draft Action Plan will be revised taking public comments into consideration and the Final PFAS Action Plan will be delivered to Governor Lamont on Nov. 1, 2019.
 
Background on PFAS
 
PFAS stands for per- and polyfluorinated alkyl substances, a group of more than 4,000 man-made chemicals that have been used since the 1940s for their heat resistance and water-, oil-, and dirt-repellence.  Due to these properties, PFAS are widely used in consumer products such as nonstick cookware, waterproof apparel, stain-resistant textiles and carpets, personal care products, cleaners, waxes, and food packaging materials. They also have numerous industrial applications—for instance, PFAS are used in metal finishing operations and as the primary ingredient in AFFF, the class of firefighting foam used to extinguish high-hazard flammable liquid fires. Because of their stability, PFAS resist breakdown by natural processes and persist in the environment indefinitely, earning them the nickname “forever chemicals.”