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Well 6 Online with PFAS Filters

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Today, Hopkinton Director of Public Works, Kerry Reed, announced that the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) has approved Hopkinton’s activation of the full-scale PFAS treatment system at Well #6.

The system is in operation and “cleaner” water is flowing to users, reported Reed.  The water treatment system is designed to remove Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) to levels reliably and consistently below the current MassDEP and EPA Maximum Contaminant Levels (MCL).

PFAS are a group of man-made chemicals that have been manufactured and used in a variety of industries around the globe, including in the United States since the 1940s. Some of the chemicals are very persistent in the environment and in the human body — meaning they don’t break down and they can accumulate over time. There is evidence that exposure to PFAS can lead to adverse human health effects, including liver, blood, thyroid, fetal development and immune systems effects. 

Long-term exposure to PFAS is detrimental to human health. Credit: European Environment Agency, Wikimedia Creative Commons

A HopNews investigation published in April 2023 revealed that Fruit Street well #6 was likely contaminated by Aqueous Film Forming Foam (AFFF) used by the Massachusetts Fire Academy, who operated a “gas school” at the Fruit Street complex in the 1970’s and early 1980’s. AFFF are synthetic PFAS-containing foams designed for flammable liquid fires. The PFAS serve as surfactants that spread the foam to cool and suppress the fire. While AFFF are extremely effective, they are also a significant source of PFAS pollution.

>> RELATED: Town Water Likely Contaminated by State Fire Academy

Today, Reed said that on June 13, 2024, personnel from the Central Regional Office of the MassDEP conducted an activation inspection of the full-scale PFAS treatment system at Well #6 and on June 27, 2024, MassDEP notified the Town of approval to activate the temporary full-scale PFAS treatment system. The approval is valid until July 1, 2027 or until Hopkinton is interconnected to the Massachusetts Water Resources Authority (MWRA) water system. In the absence of an interconnection to MWRA, the temporary PFAS treatment system will need to be converted to a permanent water treatment plant which fully complies with all permits, regulations, guidelines, and policies.  

The Hopkinton Water Department will operate the PFAS filtration system and monitor water treatment.  Sampling will be conducted in accordance with regulatory requirements and sampling results will continue to be available to the public. Additional information is available on the Water Department website.

In June 2021, the Hopkinton Board of Health issued an advisory for infants, pregnant women, nursing mothers and those who are immunocompromised. The BOH recommended that residents not cook with or drink town water, and instead should use bottled water. The town offers a Bottled Water Rebate Program for affected residents, which will remain in effect until the Town determines that it is no longer necessary. 

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