Two Westfield Water System wells taken off line because of contamination levels

by Ted Laborde, originally posted on May 26, 2016


WESTFIELD – The Water Department has announced that two of the city’s water service wells are no longer is use because of contaminants found during testing.

The advisory issued Friday by the Water Department states Wells #7 and #8, both located near Barnes Regional Airport, showed levels of contamination above levels considered safe by the federal Environment Protection Agency.

The contamination was listed a Perfluorooctanoic acid and Perfluorooctane Sulfonate. The levels of contamination were reduced by the EPA on May 19 from acceptable levels measuring 400 parts per trillion to 70 parts per trillion. The EPA’s ‘lifetime Health Advisories” are recommended levels in drinking water to protect against adverse health effects.

The two chemicals are used in manufacture of such things as carpet, clothing, furniture, food packaging. They are also used in firefighter training, fighting oil and gas fires on airfields and other industrial locations. The two wells are located near the Air National Guard Base at Barnes Regional Airport.

The chemicals were detected originally in 2013 but the levels were below the EPA recommendations at that time, Friday’s advisory states.

The two wells taken offline are part of a total nine well system providing drinking water to Westfield.

The Water Department statement said the test results came from sampling of the city’s drinking water when between 10,000 and 50,000 gallons from the wells entered the water system.

The Water Department will continue to test all wells for contaminants including Wells #7 and 8.

Significant exposure to the two chemicals, studied in laboratory animals, may cause developmental effects in fetuses during pregnancy and in breastfed infants. Higher levels of exposure can may also effect the thyroid, liver and blood system and increase risk of some cancers.

The EPA Health Advisories for the two chemicals, PFOS and PFOA can be found at

Residents with questions concerning Westfield’s drinking water should contact Water Systems Engineer Charles Darling at 413-572-6270 or email at

Residents can also contact Westfield Health Director Joseph Rouse at 413-572-6212 or Public Works Assistant Director Francis Cain at 413-642-9324.

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