PFAS are a family of chemicals used for nonstick, stain-resistant and water-proof coatings, and in numerous consumer products, industrial applications and firefighting foams. Manufacturing of certain PFAS was discontinued in the U.S. decades ago, but they may still be used in imported products. Although consumer products and food are the largest source of exposure to PFAS, according to MassDEP, PFAS are resilient and do not degrade easily. As a result, these compounds are widely found in the environment as products are disposed of and PFAS leach into the soil and water, finding its way to food and drinking water sources.
The Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) issued a new drinking water regulation that limit the sum of six PFAS compounds (known as the PFAS6) to 20 nanograms per liter (ng/L), or 20 parts per trillion (ppt). The new state drinking water standard requires public water suppliers like us to test for the presence of PFAS.
As part of the Emergency Declaration issued by MassDEP due to the drought in 2020, the Town was required to conduct PFAS testing. Initial testing was completed in November 2020, with confirmatory testing completed in December 2020. Although some levels of PFAS were detected in our water sources, all test results were compliant with the state regulations.
The Town will continue to test for PFAS compounds per MassDEP’s compliance monitoring schedule.
Refer to the related documents for more information on PFAS in drinking water, or contact our office at (978) 356-6635.