Low-cost testing now available for HopNews readers
Testing your water for PFAS is an important step in protecting your health and the environment. PFAS are a family of synthetic chemicals that are used in many consumer products and have been linked to a range of health effects.
Higher than allowed limits of PFAS were detected in Fruit Street well #6 in July 2021. Consequently, a Board of Health advisory remains in place for infants, pregnant women, nursing mothers and those who are immunocompromised. They should not to cook with or drink town water, and instead should use bottled water. The town offers a Bottled Water Rebate Program for affected residents.
There is no official town program for residents with private wells, many of which may be contaminated, particularly if the well is located near the Fruit Street complex / Cedar Swamp area.
Lab testing is expensive (usually $300 – $600 per sample) and typically unavailable to residential customers. There are only four labs in Massachusetts that perform PFAS testing, but each of them contracts exclusively with municipalities.
HopNews was able to locate a low-cost solution for residential customers. Cyclopure, located in Skokie, IL, offers an at-home water test kit that screens for PFAS.
“We have tested water for a number of Hopkinton residents,” said Cyclopure CEO Frank Cassou. “Cyclopure is very active in MA. We have been operating a drinking water treatment system in Newburyport since October 2022, and have other engagements in Lynnfield and the Holbrook/Randolph communities.”
Cassou generously offered HopNews readers a discount for Cyclopure test kits ordered with the coupon code HopNews2023.
Step 1: Unbox the Kit
The Cyclopure test kit comes with instructions, a return label, surgical gloves and the Cyclopure cup, which contains their patented DEXSORB filter.
Step 2: Fill the Cup
You have the option of filling from raw water (directly from your well) or finished water (from the tap). Simply fill the cup and the water will begin to drain through the DEXSORB filter. We set a catch cup beneath the sample cup to keep things tidy, and after 15 minutes the Cyclopure cup was empty and ready to be sent back to the lab.
Step 3: Return the Sample
Place the cup back in its original packaging and seal the box. Affix the return label and drop it off at the post office.
Step 4: Receive your Results
The Cyclopure lab director will send you an email within 7-10 days with the results of your test. Here’s an excerpt of ours:
We found 6 PFAS in your unfiltered water sample, with a total concentration of 16.0 ppt (parts per trillion): PFOA – 4.5 ppt; PFOS – 1.2 ppt; PFBS – 1.6 ppt; PFHxA – 3.3 ppt; PFHxS – 2.5 ppt; and PFHpA – 2.9 ppt. The other 51 PFAS tested for measured non-detect.
Massachusetts PFAS Regulations. Massachusetts has established a maximum contaminant level (MCL) of 20 ppt for a group of PFAS: PFOA, PFOS, PFHxS, PFNA, PFHpA and PFDA.
Step 5: Decide the Best Course of Action
In the results above, our level of contamination was 16 parts per trillion, lower than the Massachusetts standard. Still, the newly revised federal levels make clear than any amount of PFAS, while probably unavoidable, is unsafe. There are various home filters that claim to remove PFAS, such as the Hydroviv Undersink Water Filter, but we have yet to validate this. There is no EPA-approved whole house filter available yet.
It is highly likely that the town will successfully connect to the MWRA within a few years and at that time they will retire all of the municipal wells. The MWRA is fed from the Quabbin reservoir, which is consistently PFAS-free. Hopkinton residents with private wells may have access to town water in their street and depending on the level of PFAS in their private well it may make sense to switch to public water.