PLEASE SUPPORT THE CONSTRUCTION OF A WATER FILTRATION PLANT NEEDED TO PROTECT PUBLIC HEALTH AT THE BARNSTABLE FIRE DISTRICT ANNUAL MEETING. THE MEETING WILL BE HELD ON MAY 11, 2022, AT 7:30 PM IN THE BARNSTABLE COUNTY OLD JAIL EAST WING CONFERENCE ROOM, 3195 MAIN STREET, BARNSTABLE, MA 02630.
A public outreach pre-meeting will be held on Thursday May 5, 2022, at 7:00 PM in the Barnstable County Old Jail East Wing to provide information on the proposed filtration plant and to explain the need for the new facility. Due to economic conditions, the anticipated cost for the new facility and associated engineering is now estimated to be 20 million dollars. The District will be receiving financial assistance from the State of Massachusetts to help defray this cost, which will be explained at the meeting.
What is the issue?
PFAS contaminants with the potential to cause adverse health effects have been detected in the Fire District’s ground water sources used to produce drinking water.
What are PFAS chemicals?
PFAS is a group of hazardous manmade chemicals used in a variety of industries and consumer products nicknamed “Forever Chemicals” and are found everywhere in the environment. The Water Department discovered PFAS in the District’s drinking water sources when the Department initially sampled for PFAS chemicals in January 2016. PFAS were discovered in the groundwater at four out of five of the Districts well supplies.
In October 2020 the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection established a regulation establishing a Maximum Contaminant Level (MCL) of 20 parts per trillion (ppt) for a total of six PFAS chemicals to protect public health. Two of the District’s Wells have had detections above the newly established MCL.
Some people who drink water over a prolonged period containing these PFAS in excess of the 20 ppt maximum containment level may experience certain adverse effects. These include effects on the liver, blood, immune system, thyroid, and fetal development. PFAS may also elevate the risk of certain forms of cancer.
What has the Water Department done previously to address the problem?
The District’s original pumping station at Well #1, which was not being actively used to supply drinking water, was found to be “Non-Detect” for PFAS contaminants. The pumping station for Well #1 is in the process of being modernized with new pumping equipment, new electrical equipment, and a emergency generator. Also, a second building has been constructed at the Well #1 site to provide chemical addition for corrosion control and disinfection. The refurbished facilities will provide PFAS free water which will reduce the average concentrations of the contaminant in the water system beginning June 1, 2022.
What will the Water Department be doing in the future to address the problem?
The officers of the Barnstable Fire District are seeking voter approval, at the May 11, 2022 Annual District Meeting to borrow up to $20 million dollars to construct a treatment facility to reduce levels of PFAS (per- and poly-fluorinated alkyl substances) in the Barnstable Fire District’s drinking water.
At the Annual District Meeting held on June 10, 2021, the voters of the District approved the expenditure of $1.24 million dollars to design the proposed treatment facility (Article 16 also included the Rehabilitation of Well #1; the total amount of the Article was $2,483,000). The Barnstable Fire District Board of Water Commissioners and the Barnstable Fire District Prudential Committee authorized the design of a water filtration facility to remove PFAS from the drinking water produced by the Water Department. The $1.24 million in funding included a pilot study to evaluate treatment methods based on the groundwater chemistry at the site, and a geotechnical survey of the proposed site for the new facility. The goal of building the new treatment facility is to provide water with PFAS levels as close to zero as technologically possible. The filtration process will also improve water quality by reducing the concentrations of iron and manganese. The District’s drinking water will be healthier to consume.
Where can I get more information?
You can also get more information from the following sources:
- MassDEP at https://www.mass.gov/info-details/per-and-polyfluoroalkyl-substances-pfas
- USEPA’s Drinking Water Health Advisories can be found at: https://www.epa.gov/ground-water-and-drinking-water/drinking-water-health-advisories-pfoa-and-pfos
- The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Public Health Statement for PFOS and PFOA can be found at: https://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/pfas/index.html
- For additional information on possible health effects, you may contact the Massachusetts Department Environmental Protection, Office of Research and Standards, at 617-556-1165.
The Board thanks you for your support for these proposed improvements intended to ensure that the water you receive is a free or any potentially harmful elements.
For more information, please contact Superintendent Thomas Rooney by email at firstname.lastname@example.org with questions about the needed improvements.