It’s been about two months since a firefighting foam containing a chemical known as PFAS spilled into the Farmingotn River.
Now more of Connecticut’s rivers will be tested for that potentially dangerous chemical, which is linked to cancer and other health concerns.
It’s been years since Christopher Yarmolovich has taken a dip in the Natchaug River.
“It has no rocks on the bottom, it’s supposedly very clean,” Yarmolovich said.
But today he learned his beloved waterway is one of three eastern Connecticut Rivers that will now be tested for PFAS. The same potentially dangerous chemical that went into the Farmington River earlier this summer after a firefighting foam spill at Bradley International Airport.
“Now I’m hesitating, we came all this way over here. Are we safe here? Yarmolovich said.
The state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection says the Natchaug, Quinebaug and Pawcatuck Rivers will be tested this summer under a federally funded PFAS research program through the University of Rhode Island.
“If there’s a known source that has very high concentrations, we should just avoid putting them into the system completely,” Penny Vlahos, associate professor of Marine Sciences at UConn said.
Vlahos says PFAS is known as an emerging containment but all of us have most likely been exposed to it.
“If I measure every person in Connecticut right now in their blood system we will detect these compounds,” Vlahos said.
DEEP said that testing on the Natchaug comes after elevated levels of PFAS were found in a drinking water well next to the Eastern Regional Firefighting School.
NBC Connecticut Investigates learned from the school that it will no longer be using PFAS foam for training and the water department says it’s in the process of getting a new water line to the affected home.
“I got goggles and I’ll try my best not to swallow it,” Yarmolovich said.
Yarmolovich will now wait to see what the testing results show before he decides to wade in the water again.