MORGAN COUNTY, Ala. — 3M has conducted three preliminary studies on closed landfills in Decatur.
WHNT News 19’s review of the materials submitted to the Alabama Department of Environmental Management by 3M shows high levels of chemicals remain at the sites decades after the landfills were closed.
WHNT News 19 looked through more than 1,200 pages of documents on three former Morgan County landfill screenings.
The PFAS chemicals in question, manufactured by 3M for products like Scotchgard, have been deemed “forever chemicals” by scientists because they don’t break down in the environment. There are currently no federal standards for PFAS chemicals in soil, though the chemicals have been linked to a number of health problems.
The only Environmental Protection Agency advisory for the chemicals is related to drinking water.
An EPA advisory is issued if more than 70 parts per trillion of PFAS chemicals are found in drinking water.
Here’s what we know about the preliminary screenings for the chemicals conducted on the former landfills in Morgan County:
The 40-acre Brookhaven/Aquadome landfill was closed in 1963. Preliminary results on the property in from July and August 2019 show PFOS levels as high as 3,770 parts per trillion. That is more than 50 times the amount of the current federal drinking water guidelines.
The 40 acre Old Moulton Road landfill shut down in 1973. Preliminary screening from June 2019 found PFOA levels as high as 67,200 parts per trillion. That number is nearly 900 times the current drinking water advisory.
The 81-acre Deer Springs landfill operated until 1981. Site sampling from May 2019 found levels of PFSO as high 236,000 parts per trillion. The level is more than 3,000 times the amount of the EPA drinking water advisory.
The reports indicate extensive additional investigation will be done on the sites, including investigation of groundwater and wells, in the immediate area.
The reports say that the full preliminary investigative analysis will take up to 120 days to complete. It goes on to say that the final report will be issued 30 days following the receipt of the final laboratory analytical reports.