Read the full article by Molly Shelly (Morning Sentinel)

“While a dairy farm in Fairfield has had its products taken off the shelves since June following the discovery of high levels of so-called ‘forever chemicals’ in its milk, a nearby resident says she recently found out her well water has been contaminated with the same chemicals.

A test conducted by the Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry found that milk from Tozier Dairy Farm, located on the Ohio Hill Road, had levels of perfluorooctanesulfonic acid, also known as PFOS, that were higher than the limit of 210 parts per trillion set by the state.

And after the Department of Environmental Protection conducted a test in September of the well water on Jerri-Lee Cookson’s property three miles away on the same road, officials discovered that Cookson’s water also contained such high levels of PFOS and perfluorooctanoic acid, PFOA, that she was advised to stop consuming it.

The contaminated milk was discovered during the department’s second round of retail milk testing in February, according to Nancy McBrady, director of the bureau of agriculture. 

‘There was a result for a retailer that was about 60 parts per trillion, we retested it, it was confirmed … and we then worked with that retailer to see what producers had been in that sample,’ McBrady during a phone interview Monday. ‘And so by working with the retailer, we narrowed it down to a couple of potential sources and we tested those sources and that’s how we found the Tozier Farm.’

While the investigation into the Tozier Farm is ongoing, Jerri-Lee Cookson, 65, has been advised by the DEP not to drink the water from the private well on her property.

Cookson, who has lived in her home on the Ohio Hill Road for around 12-years, was contacted by DEP in September and was told that the department was investigating contamination nearby ‘I got a phone call out of the blue from DEP,’ Cookson said. ‘It said that they wanted to test my water because they had reason to believe there was contamination.’

Cookson also received a letter from DEP that was dated Sept. 18.

‘The department is currently conducting an environmental investigation in the area,’ the letter read. ‘And our recent phase in the investigation includes sampling residential water supplies in your neighborhood for certain environmental contaminants.’

Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, the group of man-made ‘forever chemicals’ known collectively as PFAS, has a limit of 70 parts per trillion in drinking water, set by the U.S. Department of Environmental Protection. PFOS and PFOA are two synthetic chemicals that are referred to as perfluoroalkyl substances, or PFAS for short.

According to the DEP’s results dated Oct. 9, Cookson’s water contained levels of PFOA at 394 parts per trillion and PFOS at 170 parts per trillion.

‘It’s undrinkable,’ Cookson said. ‘I have to buy my water now. I can take a shower with it but I can’t use it for cooking or watering the garden.’

State officials could not confirm Tuesday whether the contamination at the Tozier Farm is directly linked to the contamination of Cookson’s well…”