The channel called Clover Valley Creek frequently floods, depositing sediments and possibly chemical contaminants on some of the farm’s low-lying acreage used for grazing and crops. And downstream, the pollution makes its way into Puget Sound’s Dugualla Bay, a rearing area for young chinook salmon. The chemicals — perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances, or PFAS — have emerged as a pervasive pollution problem, one that for decades largely escaped regulatory scrutiny.
There are more than 4,700 compounds, found in products ranging from carpet to food wrappers to dental floss. And, since being introduced in the mid-20th century, they have made their way into public waterways and seeped underground into drinking-water wells, including some spots on Whidbey Island.
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