Dear Editor:

Indiana is considering a bill to mandate testing for PFAS. It is Senate Bill 414: http://iga.in.gov/legislative/2020/bills/senate/414

What is PFAS and why should we care? Here is what the EPA says about PFAS: PFOA and PFOS have been the most extensively produced and studied of these chemicals. Both chemicals are very persistent in the environment and in the human body – meaning they don’t break down and they can accumulate over time. There is evidence that exposure to PFAS can lead to adverse human health effects.

PFAS can be found in food, commercial household products, workplace, drinking water, landfills, wastewater treatment plants, living organisms.

Why are PFAS important? Low infant birth weights, effects on the immune system, cancer (for PFOA), and thyroid hormone disruption (for PFOS).

How are people exposed to PFAS?

Contaminated soil and water used to grow the food (https://www.epa.gov/pfas/basic-information-pfas).

What has this to do with our landfill and their desire to expand the landfill?

When the old landfill was closed they built a pipe to transfer the leachate to the city of Greensburg to be processed at the sewer plant. Then the liquids go into Gas Creek and the solids have been applied to the soil in various places throughout the county. I have a list from IDEM which shows all the locations that this leachate has been applied. You must remember this is called a forever chemical because it does not degrade. While the state is considering testing for it, our application of this leachate will only increase if the landfill increases or remains open.

Here is an example of another state where they test for PFAS and what happens as a result of testing.

(AP article) Concerns grow over tainted sewage sludge spread on croplands

State inspectors ordered a halt to the practice in 2017 after learning the material was laced with one of the potentially harmful chemicals known collectively as PFAS, which are turning up in drinking water and some foods across the U.S.

Now, the city of 8,800 expects to pay about $3 million to have the waste treated at another facility and the leftover solids shipped to a landfill.

Lapeer isn’t alone. For decades, sewage sludge from thousands of wastewater treatment plants has been used nationwide as cropland fertilizer.

The concern is that certain PFAS chemicals, which studies have associated with increased risk of cancer and damage to organs such as the liver and thyroid, could be absorbed by crops grown in soils treated with polluted sludge and wind up in foods.

Residential sewage is another source — from carpets, clothes and other household items containing PFAS. The grease- and water-resistant compounds, known as “forever chemicals” because they don’t degrade naturally and are believed capable of lingering indefinitely in the environment, also are found in firefighting foam used at military bases and airports. (https://apnews.com/32c65a5b3c27468ea2cdd2ce97848825)

This landfill should not be expanded. This landfill should become a transport station instead of a landfill. Keep in mind that 75% of what goes into this landfill comes from out of county.

If anyone would like to see the IDEM list of all the places this has been applied and is still being applied in our county I can supply that. There are several more meetings before this landfill is approved. Those who can see this as a place to start to positively affect the health of this community, currently, and for our children and grandchildren need to attend these meetings and object to this landfill.

Jean Johannigman

Greensburg

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