Metropolitan District Commission Sues State – PFAS Becoming an Issue in Connecticut

The Metropolitan District Commission (MDC), a municipal corporation created by the State of Connecticut in 1929 to provide water and sewer service to communities in the greater Hartford area, has sued the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP). The MDC alleges that DEEP is responsible for PFAS contamination of the leachate from the Hartford landfill, now closed, which flows to MDC’s Poquonock wastewater treatment facility.

According to an article in the Hartford Courant on August 15th : “A sewer agency official said MDC’s tests of the leachate coming out of the Hartford landfill indicate levels of these hazardous chemicals were 10 times higher than what was measured in the Farmington River in Windsor after a major spill of PFAS firefighting foam in June.”

The Courant referred to the June 8th incident where fire fighting foam containing PFAS spilled at Bradley International Airport and made its way into the Farmington River. As a result of that incident, Governor Ned Lamont appointed a task force with broad authorities to look at the PFAS issue and come back with an Action Plan by October 1st. The task force will be assessing risks and providing recommendations for preventing future spills and cleaning up PFAS contamination.

Landfills are turning out to be a source of PFAS contamination to wastewater treatment facilities and the environment. However, Michigan (see excellent report here), Vermont, and other jurisdictions have examined the issue and determined that, unless landfill leachate is a relatively high proportion of the wastewater coming into a treatment facility, stopping accepting it will likely not significantly change PFAS levels in the facility’s wastewater. This is because dilution and ambient levels of PFAS in domestic wastewater are far more significant. PFAS impacts in groundwater and surface water around landfills is another story, however. There was another issue at the Ellington, CT landfill where DEEP found high PFAS levels in an adjacent drinking water well. The well supplies water to only one home, currently unoccupied, and DEEP will be supplying bottled water to the future occupants.