State officials have awarded public water suppliers in Barnstable $400,000 in grants to protect the drinking water supply from toxic chemicals.

Perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances, known collectively as PFAS, have been found in drinking water systems that serve an estimated 19 million people. Gov. Charlie Baker said he’s established new regulations to protect the water supply and public health.

The new drinking water standard for PFAS establishes a limit of 20 parts per trillion (ppt) for the sum of six PFAS compounds, called “PFAS6.” The rule requires public water suppliers to test for PFAS6 and act when there is a detection above the limit. Baker said these standards provide a higher degree of protection, particularly for vulnerable populations including pregnant women, nursing mothers and infants. There are currently no federal PFAS standards for drinking water.

“Our administration is committed to ensuring that all residents have access to safe and clean drinking water,” Baker said in a statement. “By setting stringent standards for PFAS in drinking water, we can ensure that all public water systems across the Commonwealth are testing for these emerging contaminant, while providing them the tools and resources they need to address any contamination.”

To help communities get in compliance, Baker’s administration awarded $1.9 million in grants to 10 public water suppliers across the state, including the Barnstable and Cummaquid and Barnstable/Hyannis water systems.

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