Category Archives: PFAS

PFAS in fish in Alapaha River 2023-01-17

Largemouth bass caught in the Alapaha River at Statenville Boat Ramp had high concentrations of PFAS forever chemicals.

EWG summarizes the risk:

Eating just one PFAS-contaminated freshwater fish per month could be the equivalent of drinking a glass of water with very high levels of PFOS or other forever chemicals.

[Map and data: PFAS in fish in Alapaha River --EWG 2023-01-17]
Map and data: PFAS in fish in Alapaha River –EWG 2023-01-17 Sample taken: 2014. Source: Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Enforcement and Compliance History Online (ECHO), PFAS National Datasets, Ambient Environmental Sampling for PFAS. Available here.

EWG, January 17, 2023, ‘Forever chemicals’ in freshwater fish: Mapping a growing environmental justice problem EPA data reveal high levels of PFAS in fish and human exposure risks,

What does this map show?

From coast to coast, and in almost every state in the U.S., high levels of the “forever chemicals” known as PFAS contaminate freshwater fish. The potential harm is not limited to fish, but the pollution poses health risks to communities that catch and eat the fish.

This map, based on data from the Environmental Protection Agency, confirms the detection of PFAS at alarming levels Continue reading

Forever chemical residue can even be in your house lot 2022-11-27

That house you bought may come with forever chemicals, per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), which can harm human (and wildlife) health in many ways.

Florida permits shipping sewage sludge from south Florida to north Florida for agricultural fertilizer. It’s not clear how prevalent the same practice is in Georgia. But from fields it can wash into waterways, and subdivisions may be built on fields that had sludge applied.

[Human health, house PFAS sources]
Human health, house PFAS sources

Marina Schauffler, The Main Monitor, November 27, 2022, Forever exposure, forever anxiety: Coping with the inescapable toxicity of PFAS: Found in water, air, soil, food, consumer products and work settings, “forever chemicals” pose risks to both physical health and mental well-being.

At the end of Joy Road in Fairfield, a steep dead-end road climbs a hillside to a scattering of homes with distant mountain views and some of the higher concentrations of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) the state has found to date in groundwater. The neighbors here live under what one resident, Nathan Saunders, called the “cloud of an unknown future,” fearing how PFAS exposure may erode their health.

Continue reading

PFAS contamination may be much more widespread than previously known 2022-10-12

A new model indicates sources of PFAS “forever chemicals” may be much more widespread than usually thought.

[Presumptive Contamination Sites (n=57,412), Environ. Sci. Technol. Lett. 2022, 9, 11, 983-990]
Presumptive Contamination Sites (n=57,412), Environ. Sci. Technol. Lett. 2022, 9, 11, 983-990

That model was published while Waterkeeper Alliance was working up the report on the nationwide PFAS sampling, including the Suwannee Riverkeeper results on the Withlacoochee River in Georgia and Florida.

Presumptive Contamination: A New Approach to PFAS Contamination Based on Likely Sources, Derrick Salvatore, Kira Mok, Kimberly K. Garrett, Grace Poudrier, Phil Brown, Linda S. Birnbaum, Gretta Goldenman, Mark F. Miller, Sharyle Patton, Maddy Poehlein, Julia Varshavsky, and Alissa Cordner, Environ. Sci. Technol. Lett. 2022, 9, 11, 983-990.

Abstract

While research and regulatory attention to per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) has increased exponentially in recent years, data are uneven and incomplete about the scale, scope, and severity of PFAS releases and resulting contamination in the United States. This paper argues that in the absence of high-quality testing data, PFAS contamination can be presumed around three types of facilities: (1) fluorinated aqueous film-forming foam (AFFF) discharge sites, (2) certain industrial facilities, and (3) sites related to PFAS-containing waste. While data are incomplete on all three types of presumptive PFAS contamination sites, we integrate available geocoded, nationwide data sets into a single map of presumptive contamination sites in the United States, identifying 57,412 sites of presumptive PFAS contamination: 49,145 industrial facilities, 4,255 wastewater treatment plants, 3,493 current or former military sites, and 519 major airports. This conceptual approach allows governments, industries, and communities to rapidly and systematically identify potential exposure sources.

Why should we care? Continue reading

Forever chemicals contaminate Withlacoochee River in Georgia and Florida 2022-10-18

Update 2022-12-24: PFAS contamination may be much more widespread than previously known 2022-10-12.

Hahira, GA, October 18, 2022 — A first-of-its kind study by Waterkeeper Alliance found 83% of the waters tested across the country, and 100% of tested waterways in Georgia and Florida, were contaminated by dangerous PFAS chemicals.

“The PFAS levels we found in the Withlacoochee River were lower than most sites in the U.S., but there should not have been any,” said Suwannee Riverkeeper John S. Quarterman. “WWALS is working on ways to do more tests to narrow down likely sources and to see how rain events affect the results.”

[Figure 11: bigger circles indicate more contamination]
Figure 11: bigger circles indicate more contamination

The good news: PFAS levels in four test sites on the Withlacoochee River were among the lowest in the study. Still, there are currently no universal, science-based limits on the various PFAS chemicals and their presence is cause for further investigation. For many PFAS chemicals, the EPA has not set a health advisory limit that would give the public a baseline to determine what amount of PFAS is unhealthy in drinking water. In most cases, the EPA is not doing adequate monitoring for these chemicals, which is why these findings are so relevant and important.

The bad news: Continue reading

Report chemical constituents for forensic PFAS source identification –WWALS to U.S. EPA 2021-09-27

We requested much more labeling of chemical constituents of PFAS “forever chemicals”, to enable tracking PFAS contamination to its sources, when U.S. EPA held a public comment period about a PFAS rule.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution brought this problem to our attention back in 2018, due to PFAS contamination from all three Air Force bases in Georgia, plus it turns out the Florida Fire College in Ocala. There are probably many more sources, including biosolids dried out from human wastes and used as fertilizer.

[Map, Letter]
Map, Letter

WWALS letter to EPA

See also the PDF.

The WWALS letter references a St. Johns Riverkeeper letter, co-signed by Waterkeepers Florida (including Suwannee Riverkeeper). PDF. Continue reading

Moody dummy bomb report from Suwannee Springs –WCTV 2019-07-02

Will Moody AFB find the dummy bombs an A-10C Warthog dropped near Suwannee Springs the other day?

[Sometimes they do and sometimes they don't]
Sometimes they do and sometimes they don’t

Moody AFB said sometimes they search for them, and sometimes they don’t, depending on an ongoing safety examination.

[Location Map]
Location Map

That is as reported by Emma Wheeler, WCTV, 2 July 2019, Moody jet hits bird, drops 3 dummy bombs over N. Florida.

She also interviewed me.

What else is in it? What are the pyrotechnics? What kind of environmental damage could it cause? We don’t really know. We’d like to know.

[Doesn't encourage people to get on the rivers]
Doesn’t encourage people to get on the rivers

Continue reading

Moody AFB and Lowndes County on U.S. PFAS contamination map 2019-05-06

Should we be proud? Lowndes County and Moody Air Force Base again made it onto a national map of PFAS firefighting foam contamination, as did the Florida State Fire College, Ocala Florida.

[U.S.]
U.S.

The report EWG references for Moody AFB says other Air Force Bases did test off-base wells, unlike Moody AFB.

[Page 01]
Page 01

It says Peterson AFB in Colorado applied for further funds and did further testing and continues mitigation work “on private and public drinking water wells.”

[Southeast U.S.]
Southeast U.S.

The report’s Conclusion includes: “We are addressing DoD’s cleanup responsibility”. Well, that’s refreshing news! I look forward to Moody AFB being the community leader it always is.

[Moody Air Force Base]
Moody Air Force Base

Some of the details on this EWG map are a bit odd, such as Continue reading

Tank fire shortage of toxic PFAS firefighting foam at Houston Ship Channel

This “special foam”: yes, it’s probably the same toxic PFAS chemicals spilled at the Ocala, FL firefighting school and at Moody AFB near Valdosta, GA. Massive ammounts of it were used at the ITC tank farm, with its own docks on Buffalo Bayou into Burnet Bay, leading to Galveston and the Gulf. Then a massive storm hit, closing that Houston Ship Channel and stopping cleanup operations. It’s so bad even the state of Texas and Harris County are suing ITC. Meanwhile, whoever heard of a solar farm fire?

Photo: Click2Houston, 19 March 2019, Fire Grows
Photo: Click2Houston, 19 March 2019, “Fire Grows”.

Firefighters at Houston Chemical Disaster Scrambled for Foam, by Joe Carroll and Kevin Crowley, Bloomberg, March 29, 2019, 12:10 PM EDT Updated on March 29, 2019, 3:18 PM EDT,

Firefighters confronted with the worst Gulf Coast industrial disaster in 14 years had to call on outside sources to augment their supply of the special foam required to extinguish chemical blazes.

Intercontinental Terminal Co. confirmed it appealed to other companies for foam during the fire Continue reading

Georgia legislature passed a firefighting foam regulation bill 2019-03-28

Both houses of the Georgia General Assembly have passed a bill to regulate PFAS fluorinated firefighting chemicals, such as spilled at Moody Air Force Base and the other two Georgia AF bases. If the governor signs it, this bill will become law.

Passed both House and Senate, HB 458

The bill is rather limited in scope, basically only Continue reading