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PFAS found at regional airport, mobile home park; declared hazardous waste site

Oct 27, 2020 2:30 pm
Ry Rivard is reporting for the Adirondack Explorer the state of New York last week categorized the Adirondack Regional Airport as a hazardous waste site. The town-owned airfield is located near Saranac Lake. The airport over the years sprayed firefighting foam containing PFAS, a toxic substance known to linger in the soil and water and cause cancer and other health problems in humans. Tests also found the chemicals in a nearby mobile home park. The airport was added to the Superfund hazard list last week. The state Department of Environmental Conservation will now investigate the “nature and extent of contamination” at the site and figure out ways to clean up the damage, but officials have known about problems there for several years. Last year, state Attorney General Letitia James cited problems at the airport in a federal lawsuit against the makers of PFAS and firefighting foam. Despite the news, day-to-day operations remain unaffected, airport manager Corey Hurwitch said. Samples of groundwater from a test well near a row of hangars at the airport showed 28,181 parts PFAS per trillion parts water. Anything above 500 in a sample that size would have been a cause for great concern. Other tests showed PFAS in existing drinking water supplies. Elevated levels of the chemical were also found at the Adirondack Airport Community, just down a road from the airport entrance, with about 30 mobile homes. Exposure to PFAS — a group of chemicals found in nonstick pans, among other things — can cause cancer and harm the immune system, liver and infants. Read the full story in the Times Union.
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