Baker administration awards $3 million to Chelmsford, Littleton and others to address PFAS contamination in water – Lowell Sun

BOSTON – The Baker Polito government has awarded $ 3 million in grants to Chelmsford, Littleton, and 15 other public water systems to support efforts to combat increased levels of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in drinking water. The grants are used to finance expenses in connection with the design and planning of treatment systems to protect drinking water from PFAS.

The Sun previously reported on PFAS, “forever chemicals” found in water-resistant, stain-resistant, and non-stick household items such as carpeting, paint, acrylic nails, waterproof clothing and non-stick pans, and foam used by firefighters. which, according to the Environmental Protection Agency, have been linked to effects such as low infant birth rates, immune system and hormone effects, and certain types of cancer.

The Chelmsford Water District received $ 199,996 for planning and design, and the Littleton Water Department received $ 200,000 for top honors, including planning and design.

In Chelmsford, licensed professionals are currently investigating the PFAS well near 54 Richardson Road, the planned location of a temporary fire station. However, the North Chelmsford Water District treats drinking water in the area with activated carbon and mixes it with another source, both of which dilute PFAS levels below government-mandated safe drinking water limits.

A water source in Littleton has been found to contain PFAS, but the city has meanwhile taken emergency measures to ensure the city has safe drinking water. The city plans to build a new water treatment plant to find a long-term solution that should be completed by spring 2023.

The grants announced on Friday will provide water utilities with funding for the necessary planning, studies, pump testing, and engineering and construction work required to remove PFAS contamination from water systems. To support communities that have already used funds to cope with elevated PFAS levels, many of the awards reimburse eligible costs already spent.

“PFAS connections pose a significant public health risk and these grants will help public water utilities carry out the critical work needed to protect the health and safety of their consumers,” Governor Charlie Baker said in a statement.

“Tackling water pollution is critical to promoting environmental justice, protecting public health and ensuring a sustainable and healthy future for everyone here in Massachusetts,” said Senator Becca Rausch, D-Needham, Senate chairwoman of the Joint Environment Committee. Natural resources and agriculture. “These PFAS design grants will provide vital financial and technical assistance to communities in our Commonwealth, and I look forward to using these tools and resources wisely to keep Bay Staters safe from contamination of public water supplies.”

“We have partnered with public water providers to develop a treatment for PFAS so that the Commonwealth residents can get clean and safe drinking water,” said MassDEP Commissioner Martin Suuberg. “As we continue to learn more about the impact of PFAS on human health, it is important that we work on the front lines with communities to protect our water resources.”

The new drinking water standard for PFAS is 20 ppt for the sum of six PFAS connections referred to as “PFAS6”. The rule stipulates that public water suppliers must test for PFAS6 and act if there is evidence of the limit value. By using the sum of six PFAS compounds, these standards provide a higher level of protection, especially for sensitive subgroups, including pregnant women, nursing mothers, and infants. There are currently no federal PFAS standards for drinking water.

All public water systems in the community must test for PFAS6. Large public water supplies serving a population of 50,000 or more were required to begin their first PFAS6 tests on Jan. 1. Public water supplies for populations between 10,000 and 50,000 will begin testing on April 1, and those serving a population of 50,000 less than 10,000 will begin testing on October 1.

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