90.1 FM San Luis Obispo | 91.7 FM Paso Robles | 91.1 FM Cayucos | 95.1 FM Lompoc | 90.9 FM Avila
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

New federal bill addresses PFAS contamination near SLO airport

Under a new federal bill, the San Luis Obispo County Regional Airport will receive funding to replace firefighting foams that contaminate groundwater with so-called “forever chemicals.”

In recent years, harmful chemicals known as PFAS have been found in groundwater samples taken near the airport. PFAS are called “forever chemicals” because they never fully break down in the environment.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, exposure to PFAS may be linked to serious health problems, including an increased risk of some cancers.

Congressman Salud Carbajal, who authored the bill, held a press conference at the SLO airport Tuesday.

“It's a win-win for the airport, it's a win-win for public health to address the contaminated drinking water that has been found for area residents and it's a win-win for everyone,” Carbajal said.

Carbajal explained that the bill creates a fund to help SLO and other airports eventually replace the harmful foams.

Supervisor Dawn Ortiz-Legg said the legislation is a huge step forward in improving water quality around the airport.

“This legislation really puts the bow on trying to make sure that we completely eradicate the PFAS in our local waters that are being used by businesses or families that surround the airport,” Ortiz-Legg said.

The bill also requires the Federal Aviation Administration to submit periodic reports on airports’ progress in replacing the foams.

KCBX Reporter Amanda Wernik graduated from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo with a BS in Journalism. Amanda is currently a fellow with the USC Center for Health Journalism, completing a data fellowship that will result in a news feature series to air on KCBX in the winter of 2024.
Related Content