Hyannis residents warned about water quality

by Haven Orecchio-Egresitz, originally posted on May 24, 2016


HYANNIS — Barnstable officials are recommending that pregnant women, nursing mothers and infants in Hyannis not drink or cook with well water until further notice after a federal agency changed thresholds for two contaminants in the drinking water.

On Thursday, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency changed its advisory level for perfluorinated compounds, known as PFOS and PFOAs, from 0.2 micrograms per liter and 0.4 micrograms per liter to 0.07 micrograms per liter for both.

The change put a well at the Mary Dunn well field above the new contaminant limit, according to Daniel Santos, director of the town’s Department of Public Works.

“We want to get a treatment system on that well to remove the contaminants from the water,” Santos said.

The well was taken off-line and the town took samples from all of the well water in the town, Santos said. Results from those samples will be available in about a week, he said. While the water is safe for the general public to drink and shower in, risks are slightly elevated for women who are nursing or pregnant, and infants, Santos said.

Concerned residents can pick up bottled water at 47 Old Yarmouth Rd. in Hyannis between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m., he said.

Two other wells on Mary Dunn Road were already being treated for elevated levels of perfluorinated compounds, even before the EPA lowered the advisory levels.

After the two wells were closed, the Barnstable Town Council approved a $744,000 emergency allocation to buy and install two carbon treatment units to clean them.

The contaminants likely came from firefighting foams used at the nearby Barnstable County Firefighter Training Academy, according to Santos.

Town officials have asked the county to provide assurance that it can pay at least $3 million to help clean up contamination of the public water supply from the academy.

Last summer, Yarmouth agreed to supply Barnstable with water to ensure the town could meet demand.

Yarmouth selectmen are scheduled to vote tonight on whether to extend the inter-municipal agreement for this summer. All costs of the connection will be paid by Barnstable.

Last week, the Air Force announced that it would deliver bottled water to four houses in the Currier Road neighborhood of Falmouth after the EPA changed the advisory levels for perfluorinated compounds.

The Air Force has been checking private wells in the area for about a year after finding that water coming from a water treatment plant showed elevated levels of another emerging contaminant, 1,4 dioxane. The Air Force, which has been working to clean up other contaminants from years of military training at the base, shut down an infiltration well near Currier Road and began testing private wells in the area for both 1,4 dioxane and perfluorinated compounds.

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