Read the full article by Katherine Worsham (KSBY)

“San Luis Obispo County and CAL FIRE have reached a Voluntary Cleanup Agreement with the Central Coast Water Board related to PFAS discharged at the San Luis Obispo County Regional Airport, airport officials announced Friday.

PFAS (per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances) are a group of human-made chemicals that do not occur naturally in the environment. They are found in many consumer products and are used in some industrial processes and certain firefighting foams.

Long-term exposure to PFAS has been associated with damage to the immune system, thyroid and liver, and cancer.

In 2019, residents living adjacent to the San Luis Obispo County Regional Airport were notified by the Central Coast Water Board that PFAS had been detected in nearby groundwater supplies. PFAS have also been found in the soil and groundwater at the airport itself.

The discovery was made after the State Water Board ordered airports across the state to investigate possible PFAS groundwater contamination because of the use of aqueous film-forming foam (AFFF) fire suppressant, which usually contains PFAS.

‘The presence of PFAS remains a complex issue as federal regulations require use of PFAS-containing fire suppression foam during certain emergency response operations,’ said CAL FIRE San Luis Obispo Unit Chief John Owens in a statement released Friday. ‘CAL FIRE takes great pride in our role of protecting the community while being a good neighbor and trusted community partner, and we appreciate the environmental public health solutions that today’s agreement provides for area neighbors. We are grateful for everyone who has engaged in this process, and we look forward to delivering the outcomes of this agreement with the community and our many partners in the coming months.’

The Voluntary Cleanup Agreement requires that replacement water be provided for those in the area who rely on groundwater, the implementation of a cleanup and abatement program, and a groundwater monitoring program.”