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PFAS

Committed to Safe Drinking Water

  • We are closely monitoring a family of chemicals called per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) that have been detected in some public water supplies in Massachusetts and across the nation. PFAS were widely used in manufacturing, many consumer products and firefighting foam. When discarded, PFAS has leached from these products and into water sources. The presence of PFAS is the result of pollution and not any action taken by Sandwich Water District.
  • The new MassDEP PFAS regulations set Maximum Contaminant Level (MCL) at 20 parts per trillion (ppt) and require quarterly sampling of all sources of drinking water. The Sandwich Water District conducted the required PFAS sampling of all the District’s public water supply wells starting in April 2021 and again in July All results from April and received in May were below the reporting limit.
    The results from July and received in August, were also below the reporting limit with the exception of Well 9 which indicated PFAS was detected at a level of 5 ppt. This detection required a confirmation sample be taken within 14 days and was completed in August. The confirmation sample results, received in September indicated PFAS was detected at 33.6 ppt -. MassDEP Regulations require the original and confirmation sample results be averaged and is 19.3 ppt
    which is below the Maximum Contaminate Level.
  • As a precautionary measure, the Sandwich Water District removed Well 9 from service in August 2021, and Wells 2 and 3 in November 2021. All three registered levels below the state standard. Well 9 will remain offline as we investigate the source of the PFAS and develop and implement a mitigation plan. We reported the test results to the public, after the results were received, reviewed and accepted by MassDEP.
  • There are thousands of PFAS compounds. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recommends PFAS concentrations in drinking water not exceed 70 ppt for two PFAS compounds: PFOA and PFOS. However, many states are adopting stricter standards. The Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) has set a MCL of 20 ng/L (equals 20 ppt) for the sum of six PFAS compounds, which are referred to as the PFAS6.
  • Relatively recent advances in laboratory testing now enable us to test for PFAS compounds at extremely low levels. Water systems that tested negative for PFAS at parts per billion (ppb) may now test positive at parts per trillion (ppt). However, these tests do not tell us when the PFAS entered the water source or from where they originated.
  • This is a new issue for water regulators and water suppliers. There is still much we do not know about PFAS and its impact on human health. No one has all the information and we are going to try to provide all the latest information available.
  • As of now, the MassDEP recommends: “Consumers in a sensitive subgroup (pregnant or nursing women, infants and people diagnosed by their health care provider to have a compromised immune system), are advised not to consume, drink, or cook with water when the level of PFAS6 is above 20 ppt (ng/L).” For those affected, alternate sources of water may include in-home filtration systems or bottled water tested for PFAS. MassDEP has a list of bottled water companies that have voluntarily submitted results of PFAS testing: https://www.mass.gov/doc/bottled-water-tested-for-pfas
  • Research continues on the impact of PFAS on our health. For now, MassDEP advises that consuming water with PFAS6 above the standard does not mean adverse impacts will occur. The degree of risk depends on the level of chemicals and duration of exposure. Some scientific studies suggest potential links between exposure to certain PFAS and health effects. Those studies examined the impact on fetus and infant development, plus the effects of exposure on the thyroid, the liver, kidneys, hormone levels and the immune system. The scientific investigations also are delving into potential cancer risks for people exposed to PFAS levels far above the drinking water standard. As we await those results, the Sandwich Water District is acting on MassDEP guidance to ensure our consumers’ safety by keeping PFAS6 levels below 20 ppt.
  • We are committed to delivering safe and reliable drinking water to our consumers. We are acting in the public’s best interest and taking the necessary steps to address PFAS in our drinking water.
  • The cost of lowering PFAS6 levels in drinking water will be determined by the solution that best fits the need of the utility. As with all water treatment, filtration and other operating expenses, the price for safe and reliable water will be paid for by consumers. While this may result in an increase in water rates, the cost per gallon of public drinking water delivered to homes is pennies per gallon compared to bottled water.
  • We are committed to keeping our consumers and the community informed

PFAS

Committed to Safe Drinking Water

  • We are closely monitoring a family of chemicals called per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) that have been detected in some public water supplies in Massachusetts and across the nation. PFAS were widely used in manufacturing, many consumer products and firefighting foam. When discarded, PFAS has leached from these products and into water sources. The presence of PFAS is the result of pollution and not any action taken by Sandwich Water District.
  • The new MassDEP PFAS regulations set Maximum Contaminant Level (MCL) at 20 parts per trillion (ppt) and require quarterly sampling of all sources of drinking water. The Sandwich Water District conducted the required PFAS sampling of all the District’s public water supply wells starting in April 2021 and again in July All results from April and received in May were below the reporting limit.
    The results from July and received in August, were also below the reporting limit with the exception of Well 9 which indicated PFAS was detected at a level of 5 ppt. This detection required a confirmation sample be taken within 14 days and was completed in August. The confirmation sample results, received in September indicated PFAS was detected at 33.6 ppt -. MassDEP Regulations require the original and confirmation sample results be averaged and is 19.3 ppt
    which is below the Maximum Contaminate Level.
  • As a precautionary measure, the Sandwich Water District removed Well 9 from service in August 2021, and Wells 2 and 3 in November 2021. All three registered levels below the state standard. Well 9 will remain offline as we investigate the source of the PFAS and develop and implement a mitigation plan. We reported the test results to the public, after the results were received, reviewed and accepted by MassDEP.
  • There are thousands of PFAS compounds. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recommends PFAS concentrations in drinking water not exceed 70 ppt for two PFAS compounds: PFOA and PFOS. However, many states are adopting stricter standards. The Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) has set a MCL of 20 ng/L (equals 20 ppt) for the sum of six PFAS compounds, which are referred to as the PFAS6.
  • Relatively recent advances in laboratory testing now enable us to test for PFAS compounds at extremely low levels. Water systems that tested negative for PFAS at parts per billion (ppb) may now test positive at parts per trillion (ppt). However, these tests do not tell us when the PFAS entered the water source or from where they originated.
  • This is a new issue for water regulators and water suppliers. There is still much we do not know about PFAS and its impact on human health. No one has all the information and we are going to try to provide all the latest information available.
  • As of now, the MassDEP recommends: “Consumers in a sensitive subgroup (pregnant or nursing women, infants and people diagnosed by their health care provider to have a compromised immune system), are advised not to consume, drink, or cook with water when the level of PFAS6 is above 20 ppt (ng/L).” For those affected, alternate sources of water may include in-home filtration systems or bottled water tested for PFAS. MassDEP has a list of bottled water companies that have voluntarily submitted results of PFAS testing: https://www.mass.gov/doc/bottled-water-tested-for-pfas
  • Research continues on the impact of PFAS on our health. For now, MassDEP advises that consuming water with PFAS6 above the standard does not mean adverse impacts will occur. The degree of risk depends on the level of chemicals and duration of exposure. Some scientific studies suggest potential links between exposure to certain PFAS and health effects. Those studies examined the impact on fetus and infant development, plus the effects of exposure on the thyroid, the liver, kidneys, hormone levels and the immune system. The scientific investigations also are delving into potential cancer risks for people exposed to PFAS levels far above the drinking water standard. As we await those results, the Sandwich Water District is acting on MassDEP guidance to ensure our consumers’ safety by keeping PFAS6 levels below 20 ppt.
  • We are committed to delivering safe and reliable drinking water to our consumers. We are acting in the public’s best interest and taking the necessary steps to address PFAS in our drinking water.
  • The cost of lowering PFAS6 levels in drinking water will be determined by the solution that best fits the need of the utility. As with all water treatment, filtration and other operating expenses, the price for safe and reliable water will be paid for by consumers. While this may result in an increase in water rates, the cost per gallon of public drinking water delivered to homes is pennies per gallon compared to bottled water.
  • We are committed to keeping our consumers and the community informed
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