Stuart will spend $2 million for new system to remove contaminants from city water
The loan, approved at Monday’s City Commission meeting, will cover the cost to install a perfluorinated chemical treatment system at the city’s Water Treatment Facility.
Water tested in 2015 showed high levels of dangerous PFOS and PFOA, chemicals once used to make nonstick pans, fire-extinguishing foam and water- and stain-resistant fabrics, said city spokesman Ben Hogarth.
In 2016, the city closed and replaced three of its 24 wells that were contaminating the water supply.
Records show they were along 10th Street east of Palm Beach Road.
Since 2016, the city’s water PFC contamination has remained below federal guidelines of 70 parts per trillion, Hogarth said.
The new treatment system would remove even more PFC contaminants, ahead of any future federal or state mandate to do so.
Firefighting foam The water, which is pumped to 19,000 customers, tested positive for PFOS and PFOA in 2014 and 2015, the first years the EPA tested for them.
But to be safe, Hogarth said, city personnel no longer train with it.
"They knew it was a contaminant and they knew it was harmful and they also knew they could manufacture it without the use of it.” The city is seeking money damages arising from the groundwater contamination and to supply wells, including the $2 million PFC treatment system and related costs.
Maximum safe levels until 2016 PFOS: 200 parts per trillion PFOA: 400 parts per trillion Current maximum safe level: 70 parts per trillion for either chemical or a combination 1 part per trillion: Comparable to 1 square inch in 250 square miles Sources: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, city of Stuart