Who says PFAS in the water is a dry subject? The Natick Department of Public Works and friends this past week dove deep into the matter of elevated levels of Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS) in the town’s drinking water (see embedded video via Natick Pegasus).
The topic has become prominent in town due to safety concerns and now a ban on non-essential outdoor water use.
Natick has gotten out in front on this issue—it isn’t shy about reminding you just how proactive it is. The reason Natick got into this early is because it was following its well replacement program last year and was required to test for PFAS. The Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection put in place tough standards in October of last year that included requiring communities on a rolling basis to start testing for PFAS, also known as “forever chemicals” because they stick around in the earth and your bodies…pretty much forever.
DPW Director Jeremy Marsette has pointed out that Natick’s water isn’t necessarily getting worse, but testing has become better over time at detecting PFAS.
The PFAS forum includes overviews of the toxic chemical situation, but also a good summary of how the heck water gets around Natick and into your home or business in the first place. Marsette also outlined the many fronts, from operational moves to capital investments, the town is working on to address the PFAS issue.
One good thing about Natick realizing its elevated levels early is that it’s toward the front of the line in ordering carbon filters designed to clean up water. The demand for these is rising, and will only increase as more communities are required to test and find out they’re dealing with unwanted levels of PFAS, too. Natick hopes to have its filters in place by the fall.
In the meantime, Natick has been increasing its use of water with appropriate PFAS levels from wells at Elm Bank it usually doesn’t use at this time of year. One downside of using this source, however, is that there are more restrictions tied to doing so, and thus the non-essential use ban.
The town and state don’t know yet what the source of PFAS might be in Natick, and are initially more focused on getting treatment systems in place. Once that’s sorted out, investigations will begin to discover possible sources. “That is very much an active, ongoing effort,” Marsette assured.
Ask about Advertising on Natick Report.