The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced Monday that it will use $19 million from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to address emerging contaminants such as per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in drinking water in Maine.

This investment, which is allocated to states and territories, will be made available to communities as grants to promote access to safe and clean water in small, rural and disadvantaged communities while supporting local economies.

“Too many American communities are suffering from exposure to PFAS and other harmful contaminants in their drinking water,” EPA Administrator Michael Regan said in a written statement. “These grants will help protect our smallest and most vulnerable communities from these persistent and dangerous chemicals.”

Regan said Monday’s action represented a significant step in the Biden administration’s commitment to combat PFAS pollution and safeguard drinking water.

U.S. Sens. Susan Collins and Angus King praised the grant program, as did Gov. Janet Mills.

“Maine is a leader in addressing PFAS contamination, but there is a lot more work left to do,” Mills said. “Maine people deserve safe drinking water and these federal funds will be instrumental in helping my administration identify PFAS contamination across Maine and take steps to mitigate it.”


PFAS are a class of over 4,000 manmade chemicals used since the 1950s in industrial and household products like waterproof clothing, non-stick cookware, and firefighting foam. They have been linked to cancer, kidney malfunction, immune system suppression, and pre-eclampsia in pregnant women.

Known as forever chemicals because they take so long to break down, they have been found in high levels in the water, fields, and even some crops and livestock on Maine farms where sludge and septage were spread as fertilizer through a state-licensed program.

The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law invests $5 billion over five years to help communities that are on the front lines of PFAS contamination reduce PFAS in drinking water. The EPA announced the funds for Maine as part of an allotment of $2 billion to states and territories that can be used to prioritize infrastructure and source water treatment for pollutants like PFAS and other emerging contaminants, and to conduct water quality testing.

These grants will enable communities to improve local water infrastructure and reduce emerging contaminants in drinking water by implementing solutions such as installing necessary treatment solutions.

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