All sewage sludge recently tested by the Maine Department of Environmental Protection was contaminated with PFAS chemicals, according to documents obtained by The Intercept. The state tested the sludge, solid waste that remains after the treatment of domestic and industrial water, for the presence of three “forever chemicals”: PFOA, PFOS, and PFBS. Of 44 samples taken from Maine farms and other facilities that distribute compost made from the sludge, all contained at least one of the PFAS chemicals. In all but two of the samples, the chemicals exceeded safety thresholds for sludge that Maine set early last year.
In March, the state announced that it would temporarily halt the land application of sludge and begin the testing, after milk from a dairy farm in Arundel, Maine, was found to be contaminated with PFAS that had likely come from sludge that the farmers had spread on their land as fertilizer. These results, which have not yet been published or reported, are from the first round of testing. An additional 28 samples were collected but the results of their testing are not yet available.