Air traffic was up and detected levels of PFAS were down in and around the Martha’s Vineyard Airport in July, as commissioners heard reports on both at their meeting last Thursday.

Ron Myrick from TetraTech told commissioners that testing for PFAS at 12 wells south of the airport revealed low to undetectable levels of the chemicals in the water supply.

“I’m happy to report there’s not much to report,” Mr. Myrick said.

Ron Myrick, an environmental consultant with TetraTech who has been monitoring PFAS levels around the airport, had good news for the airport commission Thursday: chemical levels are down. — Noah Asimow

Last summer, potentially harmful substances used in firefighting foam called Per and Polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) turned up in monitoring wells at the airport. The airport then hired Mr. Myrick and TetraTech, which began testing on wells near the airport in November. The tests revealed that 14 per cent of the 96 sampled homes had PFAS levels exceeding the state DEP limit.

But after installing 40 point of entry water treatment systems at 36 wells, levels of PFAS have been drastically reduced at the affected homes south of the Edgartown-West Tisbury Road, Mr. Myrick said on Thursday.

“All the systems are performing down to non-detectable levels after they are treated,” Mr. Myrick said. “Good news, and we will continue forward.”

Mr. Myrick also said because of the low levels of PFAS now detected, the DEP has approved a transition from monthly testing to testing every six months.

In other business, assistant regional airport director Geoffrey Freeman told commissioners that the airport had a busy July, showing charts that indicated a 17.7 per cent increase in air traffic from the same month last year. The increases were across the board, in general aviation, Cape Air travel, and jet travel.

“We are in an uptick year,” Mr. Freeman said. “That’s a good sign for the aviation community. It’s active and healthy at the moment.”

Mr. Freeman also reported that the Federal Aviation Administration, the Massachusetts Department of Transportation, and McFarland Johnson, the company hired to repave the airport’s runway, all took a tour of the runway and appeared satisfied with the project.

“Last week we had a preliminary final inspection on the runway project,” Mr. Freeman said. “Over all, they were pleased . . . happy with how things came out.”

The project to repave the runway began in January after the FAA gave the runway a “fair to poor” rating, and continued through the spring. It was funded by a $10.6 million grant from Mass DOT.

At the start of the meeting, commissioners also sounded off on an attempt by the Dukes County Commission to draft legislation that would have given the county final approving control of the airport’s expenditures. Although the commission rescinded a vote on the legislation at a meeting on Wednesday, commissioners still felt obliged to speak out against the attempt to control the airport’s finances.

“It was beyond belief,” commission chairman Robert Rosenbaum said. “It just really, truly blows my mind that anyone would attempt such a boldfaced move to interfere with this airport’s operations.”

Mr. Rosenbaum went on to call the county’s actions “egregious,” referencing a court decision that enjoins the county from interfering in the autonomy of the airport. He said the person who wrote the draft legislation should be fired, and questioned the need to pay for the county’s administrative services. Other commissioners felt similarly, with Don Ogilvy calling the actions of the county “shocking.” Treasurer Richard Knabel called it “outrageous.” He then had even more choice words.

“I finished a bottle of scotch when I went home,” Mr. Knabel said. “My hair was so on fire I had to have it cut this morning.”

Commissioners also approved a motion that will help new airport director Cindi Martin gain further control of the airport’s finances and allow her to explore options for a new bookkeeping system. They also discussed ways to work with airport business park tenants and the FAA to raise rents to their fair market value, which the FAA, as the airport’s main funder, has requested.

Commissioners closed out the meeting by approving a motion to put out approximately $370,000 in work orders for McFarland Johnson on runway support work, traffic counts and other FAA and Mass DOT 2019 grants.