News Flash

City of Henderson Announcements

Posted on: November 1, 2021

City forms PFAS working group

HENDERSON, KY, October 29, 2021– The City of Henderson, working with other local leaders, its water utility and area health officials, is announcing the formation of a PFAS Working Group to help the community better understand Per-and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances(PFAS). The group’s primary purpose will be to coordinate with environmental experts to learn more about PFAS concerns and issues, and communicate important information to local leaders and the public.

 PFAS are a group of commonly used chemicals that are in numerous everyday commercial and consumer products. These chemicals may be found in food packaging, fabrics, cleaning products, firefighting foam, nonstick cookware, personal care items and other items. PFAS have been linked in recent years to health concerns, particularly because they break down very slowly and can build up in the environment, humans and animals.

 In recent weeks, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency leaders have announced a three-year PFAS Strategic Roadmap, indicating they plan to take steps to better understand and regulate PFAS in the environment. Currently, they have advised that humans should limit exposure to PFAS but have not taken steps to reduce its use or categorize it as a pollutant.

 Like many communities, Henderson has recently become aware of the concerns around PFAS. Late last year, local officials learned that a Henderson company had reported that it found PFAS in soil and groundwater around its facilities and proactively reported it to state environmental leaders. The company, Shamrock Technologies Inc., has been working closely with the Kentucky Energy and Environment Cabinet to assess the levels and locations of PFAS in the community.

 Most important, local and state officials have determined that the city’s drinking water is safe. The Cabinet said that PFAS also has not been found in wells near the facilities.

 “The EPA’s recent actions along with our own efforts to learn more about PFAS and its potential impacts on our community led us to the conclusion we need to act now,” Donna Stinnett, the city’s public information officer and its lead representative on the PFAS Working Group. “As public servants, our No. 1 priority is to protect our citizens and our community. In this case, we need to know more, so we’re bringing together a team to focus on this issue.”

 Coordination, communication are focuses of partners

 The PFAS Working Group started working informally late last month in a meeting with officials in the state’s environmental cabinet. The purpose of the meeting was to build a better understanding of PFAS, discuss steps state and local officials are taking to address concerns and to better understand potential PFAS risks in Henderson. Agency leaders also shared that Shamrock Technologies has been very cooperative and are working to assess the extent of environmental impacts around its facilities.

 “The No. 1 takeaway from that meeting was that the biggest concern around PFAS is related to ingestion through drinking water, and the state determined that Henderson’s drinking water is safe,” said Tom Williams, general manager of the Henderson Water Utility. “We regularly monitor our water quality and water supply and are committed to doing whatever it takes to ensure it remains safe.”

 Going forward, the Working Group will meet regularly with officials from the Kentucky Energy and Environment Cabinet, work with experts to learn more about PFAS and develop strategies to communicate concerns and actions with the public and other local leaders. This may include regular reports to city and county officials, direct outreach to area residents and water utility customers, and developing online resources to help educate and inform the public.

 “While this issue is not something that the City has any regulatory authority over, we want to stay informed about developments both nationally and locally. We have a lot of questions we need answered, and we know our citizens will too,” Stinnett said. “Communities across the country are grappling with this complicated issue. We want to do everything we can to understand PFAS and give our citizens the information they need.”

 For more information on PFAS, visit https://www.epa.gov/pfas.

-30-

Facebook Twitter Email

Other News in City of Henderson Announcements