State officials are confirming news reports that a wastewater treatment plant that discharges into the Kennebec River processed a quarter-million gallons of water containing an unregulated class of contaminants earlier this year.
David Burns directs the Maine agency that oversees waste management. He says landfill runoff contaminated with so-called "forever chemicals" or PFAS — such as those used to create Teflon coatings — was delivered from a New Hampshire facility to the Anson-Madison Sanitary District in January.
"The leachate brought here to Maine was on a very limited basis,” he says. “It happened on a couple of occasions, and it's a very small percentage of the overall flow that went into the treatment plant."
An official in the state's water quality division says it cannot test for the effects of this particular discharge. The chemicals are not regulated in Maine or by the federal government, but the state is beginning to monitor for them, and a task-force created by Gov. Janet Mills is expected to propose new regulations.