The Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) is launching a statewide PFAS investigation, recently releasing a list of 34 towns that are high-priority testing sites for contamination. PFAS are the toxic “forever” chemicals that you can’t see, taste, or smell in your water, but can cause cancers, liver and kidney disorders, and more. These communities were identified as high priority because of the levels of PFAS-contaminated sludge that were spread there as fertilizer.

Last October when the DEP reached out to Lawrence and Penny Higgins about testing their water for PFAS, they decided to let the state come test. The Higgins discovered that their water was highly contaminated with PFAS. They were scared and angry, but sprung into action. They connected with neighbors and formed the community group Fairfield Water Concerned Citizens to get more water testing done in Fairfield and ensure the DEP provides clean water and filtration systems for contaminated homes.

To find out if your water is contaminated, it needs to specifically get tested for PFAS. There are currently no Maine labs accredited to test for them. If you live in Albion, Benton, Canaan, Charleston, Chelsea, Corinna, Corinth, Exeter, Fairfield, Palermo, St. Albans, Sidney, Skowhegan, or Unity, we encourage you to have the DEP test your water, especially if you are near sites of sludge spreading.

Fairfield Water Concerned Citizens have dealt with contamination firsthand, and Community Action Works partners with residents impacted by environmental problems like PFAS pollution to build community power for change.

If you want to learn more or would like support dealing with PFAS contamination, please reach out to

Dana Colihan, Community Action Works

Lawrence Higgins, Fairfield Water Concerned Citizens

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