The federal government has awarded Connecticut nearly $19 million in funds to address emerging contaminants, like Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS) in the state’s drinking water, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced on Monday.

PFAS are a group of more than 12,000 manmade chemicals that have been widely used in household, commercial, and industrial products and processes since the 1950s for their water, oil, dirt repellant and heat resistant properties. PFAS were also used in firefighting foam but have since been banned in Connecticut.

The grant, $18,914,000 in total, has been made available through the Biden Administration’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and is part of the EPA’s Emerging Contaminants in Small or Disadvantaged Communities (EC-SDC) Grant Program that will promote access to safe and clean water in small, rural, and disadvantaged communities while supporting local economies.

“This $18 million for Connecticut is an important investment to safeguard public health,” U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal said. “PFAS is in our cooking utensils, furniture, cosmetics and most dangerously — in our drinking water. This funding will help improve access to clean water in communities across Connecticut and I applaud President Biden and the EPA for making this much-needed investment to combat PFAS pollution.”

Gov. Ned Lamont recently shared an update on the accomplishments of the PFAS task force that was formed following a 2019 spill that saw 50,000 gallons of PFAS foam accidentally released into the Farmington River.

The additional funds provided by the grant will help the task force with its goals to implement PFAS testing at public water systems serving disadvantaged communities and vulnerable populations, dispose of AFFF from about 400 fire trucks and expand monitoring of landfills, according to the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) Commissioner Katie Dykes.

“CT DEEP greatly appreciates these emerging contaminants grants made possible by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law,” Commissioner Dykes said. “These funds are well-timed, and will contribute significantly to the continued implementation of Connecticut’s PFAS Action Plan.”

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Tom Hopkins wrote for CII from April 2022 to February 2023. Prior to joining CII, he worked in print, television, and as a freelance journalist.

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