On the 12th of June, authorities reported to an accidental spill of fire-fighting foam at a Bradley International Airport hangar belonging to a private aircraft company.

From the Hartford Courant:

“Close to 50,000 of gallons of water and foam containing PFAS, known as “forever chemicals,” were released during the incident at the Signature Flight private aircraft hangar Saturday, according to state estimates.

An unknown amount of that contaminated water and foam made its way through the sewer system to the Metropolitan District’s Windsor treatment plant and from there into the Farmington River near Poquonnock Avenue, officials said.

Health and environmental authorities have issued a warning not to consume fish caught from the river or to touch areas of foam that may be in the water or along the banks. “There is no observed mortality to aquatic life in the river,” according to an initial Department of Energy and Environmental Protection report.

However, environmental groups are still very worried about the contaminants that have entered the normally beautiful river known for its wild trout and a recovering Atlantic Salmon population.

“The chemical in this firefighting foam… harms people and does not break down,” said Bill Dornbos, executive director of the Farmington River Watershed Association. “We really can’t have this again… People and wildlife depend on a clean, healthy Farmington River.”

The chemical they are most worried about is referred to as PFAS, which are perfluorinated compounds. While it makes a highly effective fire suppressant, it “has the potential to cause serious health problems in humans, animals and aquatic life,” according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. and studies on laboratory animals have found that the chemical can impact reproductive functions, livers, and kidneys.

We hope that the initial reports are correct and this spill does not harm the waters of the Farmington River. But concerns about PFAS are highly valid and more protections need to be put into places where they have the ability to enter waterways.

Source: Hartford Courant.

Photo: Department of Energy and Environmental Protection.

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