As the environmental, health, legal and technical issues concerning per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) continue to make headlines across the country, Connecticut responded by creating a dedicated fund to be used by the Department of Energy & Environmental Protection (DEEP), in consultation with the Department of Public Health (DPH), to assist municipalities and qualifying special districts to test for the presence of, and remediate, PFAS contamination in drinking water supplies.
Public Act 23-74 established the "PFAS Testing Account" as a dedicated, non-lapsing account within the State's General Fund. While the account is authorized to receive funds from the federal government and other private and public sources, the PFAS Testing Account is currently unfunded. When initially raised as Senate Bill 100, the account was to be funded with $25 million but the funding was eliminated by amendment. Although unfunded for the time being, we expect DEEP and DPH, as well as many municipalities, to aggressively lobby the State to allocate funds to the PFAS Testing Account over the coming years.
In the meantime, a related new law, Public Act 23-205, authorizes the State Bond Commission to issue bonds for up to $5 million to be used for grants-in-aid to municipalities to test for and remediate PFAS contamination, provide potable water to those affected by such pollution and buy back PFAS-containing aqueous film-forming foam (AFFF), which should provide some funding for municipalities to continue (or begin, as the case may be) addressing potential PFAS contamination while the PFAS Testing Account remains unfunded.
Overall, and consistent with Connecticut's 2019 PFAS Action Plan, the creation of the PFAS Testing Account and authorization of grants to municipalities pursuant to Public Act 23-205 represent a step forward for the State to address PFAS-impacted drinking water supplies and should provide a further boost to municipalities looking to investigate and address potential PFAS contamination. We note, however, the total cost to address PFAS contamination generally and PFAS-impacted water supplies in particular will far exceed any funding provided by the recently created PFAS Testing Account or available through grants alone.
Shipman's environmental team continues to track PFAS-related legal and technical developments in Connecticut and around the country.
Originally published August 21, 2023.
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