Mark S. Granger
Mark S. Granger

  Mark S. Granger
  Admitted to Practice in MA and NY

  PO Box 487, 1094 US RT 9
  Schroon Lake, NY 12870


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Is it really that serious?

Well in fact it is serious because it is ending up in groundwater and drinking water in places not just like industrial and built up Woburn Mass but in the suburbs of South Burlington and Colchester, Vermont. In other words, it is not just a problem in industrialized locations; it exists in bucolic suburban areas.

Why are we concerned – read my earlier updates as to why you care. How is it getting here? Believe it or not- one important way is though fire suppression foam and equipment! Up until late 2015, POFA's were an important ingredient in the foam fire department equipment used to fight chemical and fuel sustained fires. They were also used in facilities that stored flammables like fuel depots. So locations with or contributing waste from the following are all suspect:

Airports of all sizes
Military bases
Fuel depots
Gas Stations
Vehicle Storage Facilities
Vehicle Repair Shops
Car Dealers
Factories using or storing flammables
Facilities with foam fire suppression systems
Companies that install or repair fire suppression systems
Fire Stations
Buildings with above ground propane storage
Restaurants and food processing facilities with foam fire suppression systems

Add these to a list of manufacturers or distributors of Teflon, water proofing and coating manufacturers or installers and you would probably find it somewhere in every community.

For example South Burlington, and Colchester Vermont, a busy suburban area south and east of Burlington, now have issues with PFOA from the area airport and a fighter base. There is no real history of industrial development but the base and airport have contributed years of PFOA use in fire-fighting foams in fighting fires and drills. Small quantities of PFOA's are a concern as even low amounts, many times smaller than solvents and pesticides, can potentially cause issues.

Accidental releases, fire suppression system failures and leaks or improper disposal can all cause releases to the environment. Once released it heads for groundwater. Once in the groundwater, it is there to stay for a long time.

When considering where your facility is located, or planning a new facility, you should be very aware of the presence of military facilities. Military bases have been consistently terrible as neighbors environmentally. Just ask towns on Cape Cod whose sandy soil has been loaded with problematic fuels and chemicals. Know the history of land use in your area. Even going back 50 years is no too far. Properties that were the subject of large fires, involving sophisticated equipment are also suspect.

If you are being supplied by a municipality, what are they testing their water for? They should supply test results upon request but then you have to see if they are even testing for the PFOA family. If they don't respond, you may need to hit them with a Freedom of Information Act Request (FOIA).

Entities may resist testing for the PFOA family of chemicals because the tests are much more expensive and not all labs are qualified to do it. The amounts to be detected are much, much lower than other tests.

If these chemicals get in your processing or even cleaning water, they can show up on or in your products. If they are in your bathrooms, kitchens and sinks, they can become a health issue for your employees. If they end up in your sewer or septic connections they can become a community concern with your company as a source.

So let's pay attention and be proactive. People and companies in Vermont and Central Eastern NY certainly wish they had been.

Please call me with questions or concerns.

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