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More wells near Fairfield dairy farm tainted with 'forever chemicals'

Worried about health impacts from PFAS, some Maine residents are considering a legal action.

FAIRFIELD, Maine — More contamination from toxic chemicals is being discovered in private wells in the central Maine town of Fairfield.

The Department of Environmental Protection says 29 wells have now tested higher than the EPA advisory levels for industrial chemicals knowns as PFAS.

The compounds were first discovered in milk from the Tozier Dairy Farm nearly a year ago. 

The tainted milk was pulled from the shelves. The source of the contamination -- bio-solids used  fertilizer on farmland. 

 The compounds are linked to a number of health issues including immune system problems and organ cancers. Town officials are distributing free bottled water at the Fairfield-Benton Fire Department to impacted residents.

There will be water available for residents for however long it takes, until they have filtration systems installed, Michelle Flewelling, the Fairfield Town Manager said.

Penny Harkins grew up just yards away from those fields. She sells tropical coral and fish, relying on a filtration system. But she worries about the long term health impact of drinking contaminated water for years. Her husband with no history of heart disease, died of a heart attack several years ago.

'Every doggone health issue you can imagine, there are five widows on this one stretch of road,' Harkins said.

Harkins says she and other residents are looking into the possibility of filing a class-action lawsuit, possibly against the manufacturers of the chemicals. 

Regulators in the meantime, are continuing to sample wells near the farm and in other areas of Central Maine where biosolids were used as fertilizer. 

For more information about PFAS chemicals from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

For information on bottled water, resources, and contact information for state agencies involved in the PFAS investigation from the Fairfield town office go here.