News Briefs: Treated Leachate May Contribute to Vermont's PFAS Problem

Also in this week's water and wastewater news, the village of Potsdam, New York, struggles to figure out why its water treatment facility is producing and extra 180,000 gpd

A recent report by the Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation is shining light on how per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) may find their way into the state’s waterways.

The report shows that when PFAS-ridden mattresses, clothing, furniture, pots and pans are thrown away, the chemicals might not stay in the landfill.

In an effort to find out how Bennington’s drinking water became contaminated with PFAS, the DEC has tested private wells, public water supplies, industrial sites, landfills and wastewater treatment facilities.

“We pretty much found PFAS contamination in all the waste we analyzed,” the DEC’s Chuck Schwer tells WCAX News.

Schwer says Montpelier’s wastewater treatment plant has been accepting leachate from landfills that contains high levels of PFAS, and that its effluent has been released into the Winooski River.

According to the report, effluent from the Montpelier plant had three to four times the safe level of PFAS.

Extra Treated Water Production is Mystery for Potsdam Plant

The village of Potsdam (New York) Water Treatment Plant is producing about 180,000 gpd more treated drinking water than usual, and officials say they aren’t sure where the extra demand is coming from.

Chief operator Brian Page tells North Country Now that an unknown source of demand has consistently used 180,000 gpd since the second week of November. He says is a couple customers were responsible, it would show up on water bills, but that hasn’t been the case.

Page’s leading theory is that it’s going out the storm drain from an unidentified leak, and he says tests have picked up traces of chlorine in a nearby stormwater drain.

Ontario Operators Ask Public to Stop Flushing Wipes

The Blue Mountain (Ontario) Public Works Department recently reached out to the public asking people to stop flushing disposable wipes, as the town’s treatment plant has struggled with the rags causing clogs.

“These rags that are often labeled as ‘disposable’ or ‘flushable,’ are not flushable at all,” Allison Kershaw, manager of water and wastewater services, tells Collingwood Today. “At the very end of our treatment plant, where there is supposed to be disinfection occurring, all of these ‘disposable’ rags are collecting and causing major issues.”

Kershaw reports troubles with pumps and valves, and crews struggling to clean out the grit and clarifiers. Operators have recently had to shut down the system three times to pump the plant’s contents out to lagoons in an effort to remove the wipes.


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