Canton School Concerned About Potential PFAS Contamination

Firefighters trained at Cherry Brook Primary School in Canton and sprayed foam containing the potentially harmful chemicals called PFAS.

Tests are underway to see if the water supply at a primary school in Canton was contaminated with a potentially dangerous firefighting foam.

And parents are worried the possible problem might have been going on for years.

“You don’t need to know what PFAS is to know that stuff is dangerous,” said Mike Pendell.

At a meeting on Wednesday, Pendell was among the parents demanding answers after learning firefighters trained at Cherry Brook Primary School in Canton and sprayed foam containing the potentially harmful chemicals called PFAS.

“I still can’t get answers as to who authorized is? Whether that person is still part of the fire department?” said Pendell.

While the drill took place back in 2014, it only became public recently that PFAS was used.

The worry is the chemicals are long-lasting and could have traveled into the wells for the school, which is Pre-K through third grade.

“We acted promptly on the situation and we are doing everything we can to make sure our staff and children are safe,” said Julie Ausere, chair of the Board of Education.

The school alerted parents and is working with local and state health experts.

“Out of an abundance of caution we felt, one, we needed to get the water tested to see if there was any impact and, two, to provide an alternative water source,” said Jennifer Kertanis, director of health at the Farmington Valley Health District.

At this point, water tankers are providing clean water for the 450 students, as well as staff.

While testing is underway to see if the wells are okay right now, there is really no way to know if the water was contaminated during the five years since the foam was sprayed.

“My oldest is only 12-years old. I don’t think at 12-years old my child should worry about whether or not she’s going to develop cancer in the future,” said Pendell.

The water test results should come back in a couple of weeks and more testing including for the soil is being planned.

The town is promising no more training will be done here.

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