The Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection and the University of Rhode Island have begun monitoring three rivers in eastern Connecticut for possible PFAS contamination. The Salmon, The Quinebaug and the Natchaug Rivers are near the Rhode Island border.
Matthew Dunn, a PFAS researcher from the University of Rhode Island, says they’re using a simple sponge-like monitoring device.
“Passive samplers is essentially a detection tool that allows us to leave something in the water for around a month. It requires no power source, requires no upkeep or maintenance, and we can take it back and do some chemistry in the lab, and ideally it will be able to tell us what’s in your river water much easier than if I came here and took a sample of the water every day and studied that.”
Meghan Lally, an environmental analyst with Connecticut DEEP, says the initial monitoring will help them understand the problem.
“We’re out today to learn more about the technology that he’s testing. We’ve selected three rivers to look at, two of them we are also looking at the levels in fish tissue as well, to get a sense of what are the levels in the state, and we anticipate that as a result of the Action Plan, we’ll likely be doing a lot more of this work. So the more we can learn about the technologies today that are available to us, the better.”
PFAS are a collection of chemicals that are present in firefighting foam and thousands of consumer products like pizza boxes and waterproofing spray.
The chemicals have a very long lifespan and have been linked to kidney cancer, reproductive problems and other illnesses.