Warning Issued Over PFAS Levels in Fish in 3 Connecticut Rivers

a man fishing in vermont

The Connecticut Department of Public Health is warning about elevated levels of a chemical used in firefighting foam turning up in fish in three rivers in eastern Connecticut.

The agency tested bass in the Natchaug River, the Shetucket River, and the Willimantic River all in the Mansfield and Willimantic areas.

The DPH found elevated levels of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in bass caught in certain sections of those rivers. People are urged to eat no more than one meal per month of bass taken from the specific sections of the three rivers.

The sections of the rivers in question are:

  • Natchaug River: From the dam at the Willimantic Reservoir (Northern Boundary) downstream to where it forms the Shetucket River.
  • Shetucket River: The advisory extends about a half-mile down the Shetucket River to Plains Road.
  • Willimantic River: Where it meets the Shetucket and Natchaug Rivers upstream to the dam at Pine Street.

Signs will be posted along those areas of the rivers soon, according to the DPH.

The decision to test the fish in the rivers was made after PFAS contamination was found in groundwater near the Eastern Connecticut Fire School in Willimantic, the DPH said.

The warning released on Thursday is an update to the agency's annual "If I Catch It, Can I Eat It? A Guide to Safe Eating of Fish Caught in Connecticut."

To see a full list of the DPH's fish safety guide here.

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