State environmental officials are tracking an emerging threat to drinking water across Massachusetts linked to a firefighting foam used at military installations and airports.
“Back in 2012, 2013 we started showing these contaminates” said Dan Santos, director of the Barnstable Department of Public Works.
Testing revealed toxic levels of chemicals in the soil at the county fire and rescue training academy, only a few hundred yards from the town’s watershed. He says it was from years of use of Aqueous Film Forming Foam (AFFF) at the facility adjacent to the Barnstable Municipal Airport.
“When they use the firefighter foam to put out fires it goes on the ground. That foam which contains these chemicals seeps into the soil and binds to the soil particle and it stays there,” Santos said.
The Environmental Protection Agency recommends a level of 70 parts per trillion (ppt) for two chemical compounds – known as per and poly-fluoroalkyl substances, or PFAS in drinking water. Santos said they found numbers in the thousands in the soil at the fire training facility.
He says every time it rains, or they spray water on the ground, those PFAS […]