During the record-breaking 2018 fire season, the typically clear waters of Cameron Falls in Waterton Lakes National Park in southern Alberta flowed black. But it had nothing to do with the extensive fires that torched much of British Columbia and a small part of Waterton.
Those concerns have grown since testing revealed elevated levels of PFAS chemicals, including PFOA, in the groundwater near an unlined, closed portion of the landfill. Those chemicals are used in industrial applications. Conservation Law Foundation is asking Vermont to delay the permit application process until that testing is complete.
Forest fires could also have an effect on drinking water if materials that pose a health concern make their way into a groundwater supply, according to a team of researchers in Alberta that is studying the issue. While not all forest fires have a large impact on drinking water, the matter is one that calls for further examination, said Monica Emelko, who is part of the research team for the Southern Rockies Watershed Project.