If the Department of Environmental Protection knocks on people’s doors asking to test their water for PFAS contamination, people should let them in.

PFAS are the toxic “forever” chemicals that one can’t see, taste, or smell, but can cause cancers, liver and kidney disorders and more. Last week, DEP announced that it is launching a statewide PFAS investigation, recently releasing a list of 34 towns that are high-priority testing sites. These communities were identified because at least 10,000 cubic yards of sludge likely contaminated with PFAS were spread within a half mile of homes.

Auburn, Lewiston, Leeds, or Minot were identified as four of these communities where sludge spreading at this scale has occurred. To find out if one’s water is contaminated, it needs to be specifically tested for PFAS. There are currently no Maine labs accredited to test for them, which means that a regular water test doesn’t test for PFAS.

After discovering PFAS contamination in Fairfield last October, residents formed a group called Fairfield Water Concerned Citizens to get more water testing done in Fairfield and ensure the DEP provides clean water and filtration systems for contaminated homes. Community Action Works partners with residents impacted by environmental problems like PFAS pollution to build community power for change.

Dana Colihan, Community Action Works, and Lawrence Higgins, Fairfield Water Concerned Citizens

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