Report: Leaching water from landfill contaminated with PFAS

February 7, 2020 GMT

RUTLAND, Vt. (AP) — Significant amounts of potentially toxic chemicals are going into Vermont landfills and some are leaching out, according to a state report released this week.

The Rutland Herald reported Thursday that researchers found perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances, collectively called PFAS, both in the materials going into landfills and in collected leachate — rainwater that has absorbed substances from materials in the landfill.

Officials say it does not appear that PFAS have contaminated drinking wells, however, the impact the leachate will have on aquatic habitat and public health is unknown.

“We’re not waving the panic flag yet, but there’s enough concentration for us to talk about next steps,” said Chuck Schwer, director of the Vermont Agency of Natural Resources’ Waste Management Division. “This was really about trying to figure out what is out there for PFAS in the environment.”

Leaching water is transported to wastewater treatment facilities, but Schwer says the PFAS pass through the system and into wherever the plant discharges.

State officials are working with Casella Waste Management to discover if there is a way to keep PFAS from leaving landfills or entering them at all.