Read the full article by Abigail Rosen (Martha’s Vineyard Times)

“Results from soil analyses of athletic fields at the Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School and the Oak Bluffs School indicate the presence of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS).

Eight individual PFAS concentrations were identified in two samples taken from the Oak Bluffs School, Steven LaRosa, senior technical leader at Weston & Sampson Engineering, said during an Oak Bluffs select board meeting Tuesday.

PFAS compounds were identified in soil at both schools, but through testing, it was found that soils at the Oak Bluffs School ‘report consistently higher PFAS concentrations than [MVRHS] soils.’

One of the chemical compounds analyzed, perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS), commonly found in firefighting foam, was found to be above the reporting limit — the level at which an instrument can accurately measure concentrations — in both samples. LaRosa said that analysis is ‘an extraordinarily accurate estimate of concentration.’

The rest of the PFAS detected from the samples fall within ‘estimated concentration’ range, meaning that the compounds can be identified, but the concentration is too low for statistical accuracy. 

All identified concentrations of PFAS substances were compared to the acceptable concentration limit set by the state, LaRosa said. The compounds are determined to be at ‘a safe level’ for direct human contact and for groundwater protection. 

A total of four soil samples were collected from the schools in July. Those samples were transferred to environmental testing laboratory Alpha Analytical for analysis. Weston & Sampson was then charged with summarizing the findings, after reviewing that analysis.

LaRosa said two samples were taken from the Oak Bluffs School property, one from the northwest corner and one from the southeast corner of the school’s active athletic field. 

The study concluded that the soil sample showed the PFAS concentrations to be ‘consistently higher than in synthetic turf components’ from the TetraTech Synthetic Turf Laboratory Testing and Analysis Summary Report in 2021.

‘I believe that the data provided is accurate, and is representative of what is found in the shallow soils that were sampled,’ LaRosa said during his summary.

There is not currently an EPA-approved method for analyzing PFAS samples. The study was conducted using a soil analysis method accepted by Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP), LaRosa said.”…