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Maine to seek ‘forever chemical’ contamination at many sites

October 12, 2021 GMT

AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) — Environmental regulators in Maine will soon undertake a statewide investigation to find concentrations of long-lasting environmental pollutants.

The investigation stems from the state’s efforts to mitigate a class of chemicals known as PFAS, which are also called “forever chemicals.” The chemicals are a problem in some parts of Maine because of the longstanding use of municipal sludge and paper mill waste as farm fertilizer, the Portland Press Herald reported.

The state set aside $30 million to test for the chemicals and install filtration systems in areas with contaminated water. Maine officials also plan to help farmers and start cleaning up sites, the Press Herald reported.

Maine is hiring and training 17 new staff members for the effort. The state needs to decide which of more than 500 sludge application sites should be prioritized for testing.

Sewage sludge as farm fertilizer has caused environmental problems in other parts of the country as well. The chemicals also carry human health risks.