The way in which these chemicals reach groundwater is still being investigated. Drinking water contamination has occurred near industries manufacturing or using these chemicals to make consumer products. PFAS use at metal plating facilities for mist suppressant can also be a source of groundwater contamination. Because of their use in firefighting foams, it is possible that fire training schools, airports, and sites where there was a major fire may have releases of PFAS. Landfills can be sources of PFAS because many types of wastes that contain PFAS can end up in landfills. Once on the ground, these chemicals can gradually migrate down through the soil when it rains and affect groundwater. PFAS do not biodegrade and are known to be persistent in the environment. Once a release has occurred that has impacted groundwater, it is possible, depending on the magnitude of the release, for PFAS to travel far away from the release area.
Many consumer products also contain PFAS, so it is possible that PFAS can be washed down the drain and into septic systems, thus becoming a source of groundwater pollution and potentially impact nearby wells. For more information on sources of PFAS, please refer to the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection’s PFAS webpage.