Wayland Addresses Water Testing Results
Wayland, Massachusetts - The Town of Wayland issued a statement this afternoon regarding the presence of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in the Town’s public water supply. PFAS are a group of chemical compounds used in a variety of industrial processes since the 1940’s including the production of carpets, clothing, fabrics for furniture, paper packaging for food and many other common household materials. While consumer products and food are the largest source of exposure to these chemicals for most people, drinking water can be an additional source of exposure.
PFAS in drinking water has become an emerging issue nationwide. On October 2, 2020 MassDEP issued its public drinking water standard of twenty (20) nanograms per liter or parts per trillion (ppt) for six specific PFAS, which Mass DEP abbreviates as PFAS6. The Town of Wayland has been proactive in testing for PFAS since January, 2020 and has been actively monitoring the PFAS levels in each of the Town’s four (4) water well fields. On February 4, 2021 the Town received its first PFAS reading that reflected a level in excess of the MassDEP maximum contaminant level (MCL) at the Happy Hollow well field. Upon receipt of the elevated readings, the Town notified MassDEP to obtain further instructions. The Town is currently engaged with MassDEP, working toward fulfilling Wayland’s regulatory obligations and the development of remedial actions necessary to reduce PFAS6 levels and protect public health. In addition, the Town notified its engineering firm to both begin investigating any possible sources of PFAS and start researching possible remedies to the elevated levels. MassDEP provided the Town with instructions related to the issuance of a town-wide PFAS notification letter. A letter approved by MassDEP will be mailed out to all residents this week.
Department of Public Works Director, Thomas Holder stated, “PFAS is an evolving issue. The new, more stringent PFAS limits recently put into place by MassDEP are designed to ensure MA water supplies are safe, and what is most important is that we make certain our Town water supply meets those targets. The Town of Wayland started testing for PFAS almost a year before any MassDEP regulations became a reality, and this was because we felt it was an important component to monitor within the Town water supply. That proactive approach continues today as we work towards addressing the contaminants in question. I am working closely with the Town Administrator, the Board of Public Works, and all Town Departments involved in addressing the PFAS issue. I can confidently say that this is absolutely a top priority for all Boards and Departments, and we are committed to finding a resolution to the issue.”
MassDEP has advised that the following sensitive population subgroups should consider using bottled water that has been tested for PFAS6: anyone diagnosed by their healthcare provider as having a compromised immune system, pregnant or nursing women, and infants. The Town will provide an alternative bottled water supply to Town residents. The Town will also provide bottled water to the public schools and will be contacting other child care facilities / private schools as well as nursing and adult care facilities. Information on PFAS and instructions detailing how to obtain the Town-provided bottled water will be available on the Town’s PFAS webpage at www.wayland.ma.us/pfas starting no later than 12:00 noon on Friday April 2. Anyone with questions regarding PFAS and what is being done is encouraged to visit the Town’s PFAS webpage, which will also include links to various governmental websites related to PFAS. The Town will maintain ongoing communications as we learn more information.