Six months ago, fears that potentially toxic compounds known as PFAS could be contaminating Connecticut drinking water sources prompted a special task force to urgently recommend widespread state testing for these “forever chemicals.” Gov. Ned Lamont and the General Assembly responded in early March by approving more than $2 million to begin testing for PFAS in drinking water wells and public water supply systems and to buy back from local and state firefighting agencies foam containing these hazardous chemicals.
But then COVID-19 hit Connecticut and brought an abrupt months-long halt to the state’s planned PFAS campaign. “The $2 million for PFAS activities has not yet come through,” said Raymond Frigon, assistant director of the state environmental remediation division. None of the money allocated for those programs can be used unless the funds are approved by the state Bond Commission, whose meetings Lamont cancelled for May and June because of the coronavirus crisis. There has been no word about when the commission’s next meeting might take place.
Anne Hulick, Connecticut director for Clean Water Action, said her organization is “extremely concerned” about the delays in the state’s PFAS programs. “We’re sensitive to the fact that priorities had to change because of the COVID crisis,” Hulick said Thursday. “But we can’t stall. We have to move forward on PFAS because that is also a health issue and an environmental issue.”